Research Area: Other Exceptional Opportunities

Cardiac MRI/Biomarkers to Evaluate Injury from Radiation Therapy

The late cardiac effects of radiation therapy are poorly understood. Cardiac-MRI and serum biomarkers could help clarify the mechanisms of cardiac injury, permitting clinicians to better protect the heart using enhanced radiation techniques.

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What is the research problem :

Exposure of the heart to radiotherapy in the standard management of especially lung and breast cancers has been linked to increased long-term risk for cardiac events/morbidity. The etiology/mechanism for this damage remains unclear.

How will your solution make a difference :

Data garnered from Cardiac MRI and biomarker testing could help guide treatment planning to reduce the long-term cardiac effects of radiotherapy. This could potentially affect the care of millions of patients worldwide annually.

What is your proposed solution :

Cardiac MRI has shown the capability to provide quantitative metrics of cardiac function and injury, while serum biomarkers remain some of the most effective and useful tests in the diagnosis and monitoring of heart damage/failure. These low-risk tests would be utilized before and after radiation therapy to elucidate the regions/extent of injury and to correlate these with radiotherapy dose to various substructures of the heart.

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Idea No. 859