Researchers Studying MRI to Detect Pediatric Cancers

May 20, 2005

Researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are participating in a national research study to evaluate whole-body magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for detecting tumors in pediatric patients and helping physicians design patient-specific treatments. The study, coordinated by the American College of Radiology Network (ACRIN) and funded by the National Cancer Institute, seeks to determine whether whole-body MRI scans can more accurately detect malignancies in pediatric cancer patients than conventional imaging techniques, and whether MRI results can enable physicians to provide individualized treatment.

“The ability to accurately stage and predict response to therapy for childhood tumors will help pediatric oncologists design patient-specific treatments that increase survival and improve quality of life,” said Craig E. Barnes, M.D., assistant professor of radiology and principal investigator of the study at Wake Forest Baptist.

“With our continued success in curing many common childhood cancers, sensitive imaging techniques such as whole-body MRI may help us identify patients who need more intensive therapies, as well as those who need less therapy so that we can improve cure rates and reduce the short- and long-term toxicities of treatment,” said Thomas McLean, M.D., a pediatric oncologist at Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest Baptist.

Investigators at about 20 leading pediatric hospitals in North America and abroad will work closely with the pediatric oncologists at their respective institutions to identify more than 225 eligible patients over the next 18 months.

Among the other institutions participating in the trial are St. Jude’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta and Washington University.

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Media Contacts: Jonnie Rohrer, 336-716-6972, , Karen Richardson, , or Shannon Koontz, , at 336-716-4587.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Brenner Children’s Hospital. It is licensed to operate 1,187 acute care, rehabilitation, psychiatry and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. Brenner Children’s was named one of the top children’s hospitals in the nation by Child magazine.

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