Hello! My name is Yonathan Araya and I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of Medical Biophysics at Western University. I work in the Imaging Research Laboratories at Robarts Research Institute under the supervision Dr. Timothy Scholl.
Dr. Scholl’s lab focuses on developing advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques for use with novel molecular imaging probes of cancer. These molecular imaging probes are important tools to help oncologists map enzymes, proteins and amino acids, which are difficult to detect using conventional MRI methods and are linked to different cancers. The new methods (collectively known as molecular imaging) would help to assess solid tumours and measure their response to treatment.
For example, a unique characteristic of breast cancer is the up-regulation of serum albumin; it plays a major role in the tumour environment. We’re able to image the serum albumin using a clinical contrast agent, which binds to the protein.
Using a form of imaging known as dreMR (delta relaxation enhanced Magnetic Resonance), we alter the strength of the magnetic field during the MRI scan so we can exploit the large magnetic field dependency of the bound imaging agent. This increases the specificity of our image for the albumin protein, allowing us to produce images of its regional distribution.
I’ll be presenting some of my research in Toronto at the 2015 scientific meeting of the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine. This work highlights our improved imaging sensitivity to the early stage metabolic changes associated with breast cancer development.
Thank you to BCSC for your trainee support!
– Yonathan Araya, student researcher
Pamela Greenaway-Kohlmeier Translational Breast Cancer Research Unit, London Health Sciences Centre