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UWHC, UWMF Earn Imaging Designations From ACR

UW Hospital and Clinics has been named a Designated Lung Cancer Screening Center by the American College of Radiology (ACR). The ACR Lung Cancer Screening Center designation recognizes facilities that have committed to practice safe, effective diagnostic care for individuals at the highest risk for lung cancer.

In order to receive this designation, facilities must have a prior ACR accreditation in chest module computed tomography (CT), and must undergo a meticulous inspection of facilities and procedures relating to lung cancer screening. Also included in the inspection is follow–up care such as counseling and smoking-cessation programs.

Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the United States, and properly performed CT scans can help doctors discover tumors early , while the cancer can still be treated effectively. Ensuring the highest quality of CT screening is an even larger priority with Medicare’s recent proposal to cover such scans, adding as many as 4.9 million patients to the eligibility list for CT screening.

This designation is the culmination of a four-year, department-wide effort, with special recognition to the CT team, led by CT Modality Chief Associate Professor Peter Chase, M.D. Additionally, Professor Frank Korosec, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor Tim Szczykutowicz, Ph.D. were highlighted for their work in assembling the ACR application.

The ACR, founded in 1924, is one of the largest and most influential medical associations in the United States. The ACR devotes its resources to making imaging and radiation therapy safe, effective and accessible to those who need it. Its 36,000 members include radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, interventional radiologists and nuclear medicine technicians.

New Research Image Request Process

UW Radiology is proud to introduce our new research image request form, located in the research section of our website. This new form will streamline requests, replacing the manual process previously used by the department. Instead of making initial contact by email or phone, researchers can now fill out a short form, providing basic information about their request and how it needs to be handled, including a due date by which they need the images in hand. This more efficient system promises to reduce wait times for images, and simplify internal tracking of the status of requests. The form was developed by the Radiology Web team in partnership with Scott Nagle, M.D., and Amanda Ciano. Users with questions or comments can contact SNagle@uwhealth.org or ACiano@uwhealth.org. Go to the new request form.

UW @ RSNA 15

UW Radiology continued its success at the annual meeting of the Radiologic Society of North America (RSNA), the largest medical conference in the world. The 2015 edition of the conference was marked by nearly 50 awards for UW posters or presentations, including magna cum laude awards for four separate presentations. Faculty such as Fred T. Lee Jr, M.D., and Ken Schreibman, Ph.D./M.D., gave marquee talks on some of their favorite topics: ablation and the musculoskeletal system, respectively. Even several residents and fellows joined in, contributing to award-winning papers and posters. Special congratulations are in order for Meghan Lubner, M.D., and Perry Pickhardt, M.D., who each garnered six or more awards over the week-long conference. Other top performers include Scott Sheehan, M.D., and Tabassum Kennedy, M.D., who each received multiple awards for papers or presentations. UW Radiology's CT protocol development was a prime topic of discussion at GE's RSNA booth, as over 200 sites in the US are now using UW-developed protocols, in addition to dozens of international sites. Additionally, Kaiser Permanente, an Oakland-based health care system, has committed to use UW CT protocols in a pilot program at 10 of their hospitals. This may result in a nationwide standardization of their CT protocols based on the work performed at UW.

Presentation Summaries

  • Fred T. Lee Jr Touts the Benefits of Microwave AblationUW is a nationwide leader in microwave ablation, thanks to the efforts of the Tumor Ablation Lab. Led by Fred. T. Lee Jr, M.D., and Christopher Brace, Ph.D., the lab has produced full-fledged ablation systems, dozens of patents, and a spinoff company called Neuwave Medical. Dr. Lee shared the insights gained from years of developing and performing MW ablations, in a talk entitled “The Case for Microwave Ablation.”
  • Dr. Blankenbaker Reviews Frequent Hip MRI MisstepsA standing-room-only crowd was eager to hear Donna Blankenbaker, M.D., speak on one of her favorite subjects: hip imaging. Magnetic resonance (MR) arthrography is currently the preferred technique for detecting labral tears; however, there are several situations that make diagnosis difficult.
  • Mai Elezaby Reports on Usefulness of BI-RAD SystemSince the Breast Imaging-Reporting and Data (BI-RAD) System went into effect in 2008, it has helped standardize the reporting of mammograms through a six-tier system. Mai Elezaby, M.D., conducted a retrospective study on the effectiveness and efficacy of the BI-RADS system, presented at RSNA 15.
  • Elizabeth Burnside Merges Imaging and GenomicsElizabeth Burnside, M.D., is part of a multi-institutional team investigating the connection between imaging features and genetic profile, in order to predict the reoccurrence of breast cancer. The team reviewed computer extracted MRI features and gene expression tests, finding that the risk of recurrence was most strongly indicated by the size and shape of the tumor. While there was a limited data pool for the study, the team made compelling observations about how internal tumor architecture may play a biological role in reoccurrence.
  • Dr. Schreibman Returns to ASRT@RSNAKen Schreibman, M.D./Ph.D., continued his award-winning lecture series with his 3rd straight ASRT@RSNA appearance, speaking this year about how to correctly image foot and ankle fractures. Ankle fractures are the 4th most common extremity fracture, and there are three main varieties, each with their own unique imaging needs. Dr. Schreibman reviewed the anatomy of the ankle and demonstrated how to position the patient to obtain the most useful images, all the while providing interesting information about the historical treatment of ankle injuries.

Awards

** Magna cum laude * Cum laude ‡ Certificate of Merit § Selected for Submission to RadioGraphics Φ Trainee Research Prize Sarah Averill, M.D.
  • ‡ Global Health: Improving Early Detection of Breast Cancer in Rural Areas. From Community Education to Ultrasound Exams, A Model for Reducing Barriers to Breast Care
  • ** Multi-system Imaging Features of Cystic Fibrosis in Adults
Brian Chan, M.D.
  • *§ MRI of Pediatric Bone Marrow: The Normal, the Abnormal, and the Exceptions
Zachary Clark, M.D.
  • ** When Less is More: Exploiting Vessel Sparsity to improve 4D CEMRA of Dural AV Fistulas
Lori Mankowski Gettle, M.D.
  • ‡§ Infiltrative Renal Lesions in Adults - Spectrum of Disease
Kara G. Gill, M.D.
  • *§ MRI of Pediatric Bone Marrow: The Normal, the Abnormal, and the Exceptions
Eric Hartman, M.D.
  • *§ 'Up Against the Wall' Assessing Cerebrovascular Stroke Risks by Combining 4D Flow MRI and Arterial Wall Imaging
Kevin M. Johnson
  • *§ 'Up Against the Wall' Assessing Cerebrovascular Stroke Risks by Combining 4D Flow MRI and Arterial Wall Imaging
  • ** When Less is More: Exploiting Vessel Sparsity to improve 4D CEMRA of Dural AV Fistulas
Tabby Kennedy, M.D.
  • ‡ Imaging Findings of Non-cutaneous Melanoma
  • ** Multi-system Imaging Features of Cystic Fibrosis in Adults
David Kim, M.D.
  • * Heterotopic Pancreatic Rests: Imaging Features, Complications, and Unifying Concepts
Kenneth S. Lee, M.D.
  • * What's that Sound? Sonographic Evaluation of Common Shoulder Pathologies with MRI Correlation
Meghan G. Lubner, M.D.
  • * Anorectal Evaluation at CT Colonography: Pathology and Pitfalls
  • ‡ Extra-Osseous Ewing Sarcoma: Spectrum of Disease With Pathologic Correlation
  • * Heterotopic Pancreatic Rests: Imaging Features, Complications, and Unifying Concepts
  • ‡ Imaging Findings of Non-cutaneous Melanoma
  • ** Mibs and Mabs: Intra-abdominal Complications of Targeted Cancer Therapies
  • ** Multi-system Imaging Features of Cystic Fibrosis in Adults
  • * Oncogenic Infections: A Review
  • *§ Vasculitis in the Emergency Room Setting
Matthew Lee, M.D.
  • ‡§ What's that Sound? Sonographic Evaluation of Common Shoulder Pathologies with MRI Correlation
Jie Nguyen, M.D.
  • *§ MRI of Pediatric Bone Marrow: The Normal, the Abnormal, and the Exceptions
Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D.
  • * Anorectal Evaluation at CT Colonography: Pathology and Pitfalls
  • ‡ Extra-Osseous Ewing Sarcoma: Spectrum of Disease With Pathologic Correlation
  • * Heterotopic Pancreatic Rests: Imaging Features, Complications, and Unifying Concepts
  • ‡ Imaging Findings of Non-cutaneous Melanoma
  • ‡§ Infiltrative Renal Lesions in Adults - Spectrum of Disease
  • ** Multi-system Imaging Features of Cystic Fibrosis in Adults
Susan Rebasemen, M.D.
  • *§ MRI of Pediatric Bone Marrow: The Normal, the Abnormal, and the Exceptions
Humberto Rosas, M.D.
  • ** Long Head Biceps Tendon Injuries of the Shoulder: Injury Biomechanics, and the Role of Imaging in Clinical Management
Elizabeth Sadowski, M.D.
  • ‡ Fertility Preservation in Women with Gynecological Cancers: Review of Fertility Sparing Techniques and Role of MR Imaging
Andrew Scarano, M.D.
  • ‡ 'Up Against the Wall' Assessing Cerebrovascular Stroke Risks by Combining 4D Flow MRI and Arterial Wall Imaging
Scott Sheehan, M.D.
  • ** Long Head Biceps Tendon Injuries of the Shoulder: Injury Biomechanics, and the Role of Imaging in Clinical Management
  • ‡ What's that Sound? Sonographic Evaluation of Common Shoulder Pathologies with MRI Correlation
Jason W. Stephenson, M.D.
  • ** Long Head Biceps Tendon Injuries of the Shoulder: Injury Biomechanics, and the Role of Imaging in Clinical Management
Patrick Turski, M.D., FACR
  • ‡ 'Up Against the Wall' Assessing Cerebrovascular Stroke Risks by Combining 4D Flow MRI and Arterial Wall Imaging
  • ** When Less is More: Exploiting Vessel Sparsity to improve 4D CEMRA of Dural AV Fistulas
Oliver Wieben, Ph.D.
  • ** When Less is More: Exploiting Vessel Sparsity to improve 4D CEMRA of Dural AV Fistulas
Vincenzo Wong, M.D.
  • ‡ Imaging Findings of Non-cutaneous Melanoma
Yijing Wu, Ph.D.
  • *§ 'Up Against the Wall' Assessing Cerebrovascular Stroke Risks by Combining 4D Flow MRI and Arterial Wall Imaging
  • ** When Less is More: Exploiting Vessel Sparsity to improve 4D CEMRA of Dural AV Fistulas 

UW @ RSNA 15: Fred T. Lee Jr Touts the Benefits of Microwave Ablation

UW is a nationwide leader in microwave ablation, thanks to the efforts of the Tumor Ablation Lab. Led by Fred. T. Lee Jr, M.D., and Christopher Brace, Ph.D., the lab has produced full-fledged ablation systems, dozens of patents, and a spinoff company called Neuwave Medical. Dr. Lee shared the insights gained from years of developing and performing MW ablations, in a talk entitled "The Case for Microwave Ablation." UW Health mostly uses microwave ablation due to its excellent ability to stop tumor growth, speed, and ease of use. While microwave and radiofrequency ablation are quite similar, there are a few differences. Microwave ablation is agnostic to tissue, meaning the energy spreads equally through different types of tissue. Lee also noted that the term "microwave ablation" is misleading, as microwaves are still within the RF spectrum. "Instead, I like to think of it as an advanced radiofrequency system," said Lee. Perhaps the most interesting feature of microwave ablation is the shrinkage described by Dr. Lee. Microwave ablation heats the tissue to over 60 degrees Celsius in order to melt phospholipids, a major component of cell membranes. When the tissue near the probe is heated to these high temperatures, it pulls taut around the probe, pulling the tumor inwards. This phenomena is a byproduct of microwave ablation, and it wasn't immediately noticeable. While Dr. Lee was creating his presentation, he went through his old studies to gather relevant information, and noticed the shrinkage effect for the first time on a 7-year-old video. An unintended positive side effect, like this shrinkage, is a rare and exciting find in medicine. Microwave ablation also has cost and time advantages over other modalities. Dr. Lee estimated that microwave ablation cost $270,000 less than cryoablation over a period of 120 procedures, and that doesn't even take into account the time saved by physicians. Additionally, microwave ablation requires significantly less equipment than cryoablation, saving on what Dr. Lee calls the "hassle factor." While all modalities of ablation can be successful, UW prefers microwave ablation because of the tumor control, speed, and simplicity. As the Tumor Ablation Lab continues to generate new techniques and devices, Dr. Lee will continue to lead the way. Join the conversation on Twitter @UWiscRadiology, #RSNA15

UW @ RSNA 15: Dr. Blankenbaker Reviews Frequent Hip MRI Missteps

A standing-room-only crowd was eager to hear Donna Blankenbaker, M.D., speak on one of her favorite subjects: hip imaging. Dr. Blankenbaker began with an overview of the labrum, noting that the high density of nerve endings causes labral tears to be quite painful. While anterior-to-anterior tears are common, posterior tears are much rarer, and tend to happen in young athletes. Magnetic resonance (MR) arthrography is currently the preferred technique for detecting labral tears, however, there are several situations that make diagnosis difficult. One challenge is the chondrolabral junction. While it can appear to be a tear on MR, physicians must be careful to avoid over-diagnosis. Using all imaging planes available can help radiologists make the correct decision, according to Dr. Blankenbaker. Another frequent misstep comes in diagnosing the perilabral recess as a tear, when it is in fact a natural structure. The ligamentum teres, or round ligament, can also present problems. Since it is a small structure, it can be hard to determine a tear via imaging, although Dr. Blankenbaker noted that putting the leg in traction can make for much easier diagnosis. Another problematic feature of the hip joint is the possible presence of hip plicae. A plica is a fold of membrane most commonly found in the knee. Plicae are present in about 50% of the population and are thought to be the remnants of embryonic connective tissue that failed to fully resorb during fetal development. Hip plicae are commonly seen in MR arthrography, and may cause pain, so they are occasionally excised. Join the conversation on Twitter @UWiscRadiology, #RSNA15

NeuWave Collaboration: Shared Values Lead to Improved Patient Care

Daniel Van Der Weide and Fred T. Lee Jr in consultation
Engineer Dan van der Weide, left, and radiologist Fred Lee developed a new device that uses precisely focused microwaves to eliminate hard-to-treat tumors in patients with liver, lung and other cancers.
When it comes to launching a successful startup, shared values can help a good idea gain greater momentum. For University of Wisconsin—Madison engineer Dan van der Weide and radiologist Fred T. Lee Jr., those shared values include investing in good people, taking a long-term approach to business and pursuing medical technologies that offer new hope to patients with few other options. To achieve their goals and remain true to their values, six years ago the two decided to mortgage their homes and put their families' futures on the line rather than accept funds from outside investors whose goals conflicted with their own. In the years since, they've found that while some entrepreneurial challenges require a technical solution, the ability to sit down and work through issues with a common purpose has played an equally important role in their success. Today, the company they founded, NeuWave Medical, employs 30 people in Madison. The first product, the Certus 140 Ablation System, uses precisely delivered microwave technology to destroy tumors in sensitive tissues including the liver, kidneys and lungs of patients unable to withstand the rigors of surgery. While the Certus device has been on the market for just one year, it already can be found in leading teaching and research hospitals around the nation. "It wasn't easy to reach this point, but as a physician, there is no greater feeling than being able to improve a patient's life with a tool you've helped design for that specific purpose," said Dr. Lee, who is the Robert A. Turrel Professor of Imaging Science and senior vice chair of the Department of Radiology at UW—Madison's School of Medicine and Public Health. "I mean, what could be better than this?" With the patented technology now entering the clinical mainstream, the benefits for patients are becoming more evident. For example, use of the minimally invasive ablation technique means a recovery time of just two to three days instead of the usual four to six weeks from major surgery. Instead of a major incision, a needle-like probe is used to destroy the tumor, thus eliminating the need for a lengthy post-operative hospital stay and use of blood transfusions. The microwave ablation technology also has proven effective as a "bridge" technique to help seriously ill patients on the waiting list for a liver transplant. Patients with advanced liver disease typically have tumors present in their livers, yet current rules to manage the short supply of donor organs set strict criteria regarding the presence of tumors before patients can proceed with a transplant. The Certus system allows for the complete destruction of tumors without the risks or potential delays that accompany surgery and helps patients remain on the active waiting list. While such benefits are clear now, van der Weide and Lee faced a slew of skeptics as they worked to perfect the product. "In a way, it was helpful that I was coming from a background outside of medicine, because I didn't know how many other concepts had failed," said van der Weide, an electrical and computer engineering professor in UW—Madison's College of Engineering with several startups to his credit and 17 U.S. patents issued or pending. "But that's one of the benefits of true collaboration—where you have an intersection of ideas coming from different perspectives."
Van Der Weide and Lee standing with the equipment
As the probe destroys the tumor, it minimizes damage to the surrounding organ, burning away only enough tissue to prevent a recurrence of the cancer. Van der Weide, left, and Lee have numerous issued and pending patents to their names, but they decided to take a risk and launch a startup company based on the ablation technology because it seemed the most effective way to gain the necessary regulatory approvals and get the device into production for clinical use.
The idea to deliver a fatal dose of microwave energy to carefully targeted cancer cells occurred to van der Weide as he and Lee participated on a committee during a student's dissertation defense related to more conventional treatment options. Thanks to van der Weide's work with a variety of probes and sensors capable of analyzing everything from subsurface material defects in crystals to the composition of automotive exhaust gases, he recognized the possibilities. After the concept proved successful, the two chose to patent the invention through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and license the technology for their own startup. Although they were not bound by prior agreements and investigated other options for patenting the device, van der Weide said they opted to work with WARF to better protect against infringement and provide future revenue to the university. The two also briefly considered the notion of pursuing a relationship with a larger existing company to license and develop the technology. However, the expertise and network of support available through UW—Madison's College of Engineering and School of Medicine and Public Health convinced them that launching their own company would get the technology into clinical use for the benefit of patients in the most effective way. The ability to lure experienced executive leadership and find regional suppliers also played a role in their decision to start the young company in Madison. "We were able to find exceptional CEO talent with Laura King, who had extensive background leading GE Healthcare's cardiology and mammography businesses," van der Weide said. "And thanks to Wisconsin's strong base of medical device companies and manufacturing operations, we've been able to source 80 percent of our components from within the state." Also key to the company's founding were [vault vault_id="107" profile_link], now an associate professor of radiology in the School of Medicine and Public Health, and [vault vault_id="108" profile_link], who earned an MD and PhD through UW—Madison's medical scientist training program and is now completing his residency at the Stanford School of Medicine. Lee said NeuWave anticipates hiring additional employees as several new products including a novel surgical cauterizing tool move through the development and approval process. Although van der Weide and Lee are no longer involved in the company's day-to-day operations, they continue to serve on the board of directors and play a strategic role in the company's technological progress. "When we started putting our ideas together, we weren't sure where it would lead, but our motivation to have better tools to help patients has never wavered," Lee said. "We hope that by seeing the practical advantages of our collaboration between a doctor and an engineer, others will be inspired to pursue new interdisciplinary projects."

Preview: UW @ RSNA 15

With over 100 presentations this year, UW will have a large foothold at RSNA15. Read about some of our featured presentations below, or browse the official RSNA program here. (external link)

Discordant Core Needle Biopsies: A Predictive Model that Identifies Low Probability Lesions to Safely Avoid Surgical Excision

Tuesday 12:15-12:45 PM | BRS-TUA | Learning Center, Hall D
Mai A. Elezaby, M.D., | Finn Kuusisto | Jude Shavlik, PhD | Yirong Wu, Ph.D., | Ines Dutra, PhD | Elizabeth S. Burnside, M.D., M.P.H., | Heather Neuman, | Wendy B. Demartini, M.D.
Led by presenter Mai Elazaby, this Madison-based research team created a model that could reduce surgical excision when dealing with possibly malignant breast tumors. The model determines the probability of malignancy using patient risk factors, imaging descriptors and assessment categories, and information from the core needle biopsy.

Relationship between Computer-extracted MRI-based Phenotypes and the Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence as Predicted by PAM50 Gene Expression Array

Tuesday 3:00-4:00 PM | SSJ01 | Arie Crown Theater
Elizabeth S. Burnside, M.D., M.P.H., | Hui Li | Charles Perou, PhD | Karen Drukker, PhD | Elizabeth A. Morris, MD | Maryellen L. Giger, PhD | Ermelinda Bonaccio, MD | Margarita L. Zuley, MD | Marie A. Ganott, MD | Jose M. Net, MD | Elizabeth J. Sutton, MD | Kathleen R. Brandt, MD | Gary J. Whitman, MD | Suzanne Conzen, MD | Li Lan, | Yitan Zhu, PhD | Yuan Ji, | Erich Huang, PhD | John B. Freymann, BS | Justin Kirby, | C. Carl Jaffe, MD
Elizabeth Burnside is presenting the efforts of a nation-wide research team to investigate the relationship between breast MRI and genetic profiles, in order to assess the risk of breast cancer recurrence. The group used quantitative breast MRI and the PAM50 gene array, which measures the risk of relapse. Their model, called "Computer Extracted Image Based Tumor Phenotype," preformed imaging analysis, and the model showed statistically significant correlation with the risk predicted from the gene array.

A Practical Approach for Beginning Radio-genomic Research

Tuesday 4:30-6:00 PM | RC454 | S501ABC
Elizabeth S. Burnside, M.D., M.P.H.
This educational session features Elizabeth Burnside along with several Chicago-area speakers. The learning objectives for the session include: planning and online resources required to create a successful radio-genomic research team, what skill-sets are needed in team members, and how to grasp the unfamiliar research framework of a radio-genomics project.

CT and MR of Acute Appendicitis

Tuesday 8:30-8:55 AM | RC30801 | N228
Perry Pickhardt, M.D.
Perry Pickhardt, recognized as an RSNA Honored Educator, will lecture on the relative advantages and disadvantages of CT or MR imaging in the case of suspected appendicitis. In addition, he will compare the diagnostic performance of both modalities, as well as describe the increasing use of MR for abdominal imaging in an emergency department setting.

Extracolonic Findings at Screening CT Colonography: Analysis of Incompletely Characterized and Likely Insignificant (C-RADS E3) Findings

Wednesday 10:30-12:00 PM | SSK06 | E351
Bryan D. Pooler, M.D. | David H. Kim, M.D. | Perry J. Pickhardt, M.D.
3rd-year resident B. Dustin Pooler will present a study investigating the incidence and outcomes of extracolonic findings at CT colonoscopies. Extracolonic findings are uncommon, occurring in less than 10% of patients. Even fewer patients (>1%) were diagnosed with conditions requiring treatment or continued imaging, leading the authors to conclude that extracolonic malignancies are rare.

Assessment of Congenital Heart Disease with 4D Flow

Wednesday 3:00-4:00 PM | SPSH53 | S402AB
Christopher J. Francois, M.D.
Dr. Francois will give an overview of how 4D Flow MRI can be used throughout the treatment of congenital heart disease, summarizing published data validating flow quantification and distribution in the condition. In addition, Francois will touch on future directions for both 4D Flow MRI and the treatment of congenital heart disease.

When Less is More: Exploiting Vessel Sparsity to improve 4D CEMRA of Dural AV Fistulas

Thursday 8:30 AM | NR134 | ED-X
Zachary Clark, M.D., M.S. | Kevin M. Johnson, | Yijing Wu, | Myriam Edjlali, | Oliver Wieben, Ph.D. | Patrick A. Turski, M.D.
The purpose of this exhibit is to review the classification and imaging characteristics of dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVF). It will illustrate how vessel sparsity makes 4D contrast enhanced MRA a viable option, and how to specifically use 4D contrast MRA for dAVF classification.

MRI Research Group to Improve Fetal Imaging

A team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) has been awarded a 4-year $4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop imaging techniques to identify early-stage pregnancy complications. Led by Professor Dinesh Shah, M.D, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Associate Professor Oliver Wieben, Ph.D., of the Departments of Radiology, Medical Physics, and Biomedical Engineering, the team aims to measure placental blood flow to support oxygen mapping, among other metrics. The placenta is a critical but poorly understood organ. It supplies blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the fetus, and produces hormones that regulate the mother's immune system. Many problems associated with pregnancy, including preterm birth and preeclampsia, can occur because of problems with the placenta. This research is part of the Human Placenta Project (external link), an initiative to "revolutionize the understanding of the placenta," according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The NIH has announced $46 million in research awards that will fund technology to monitor and assess placental function throughout the pregnancy, with the goal of improving pregnancy outcomes. "Previous studies have focused largely on the placenta after delivery, but in order to understand it fully we need to be able to study it while it’s doing its job,” said Shah. “Modern imaging makes it possible to study it from outside of the body. Too often damage has already begun by the time a mother with a problematic pregnancy appears in clinic, limiting the health care providers' ability to correct the course of her pregnancy." The Departments of Medical Physics and Radiology are represented by the MRI Research Group, who will work to develop new imaging techniques. The group investigates the usage of 4D Flow MRI to monitor for reduced placental blood flow, which is a common indicator of pregnancy complications. Furthermore, the group will use an iron-based contrast agent to generate real-time 3D MRI maps of white blood cells, the first time such a measurement will be performed in vivo. Mapping of placental perfusion and oxygenation will also be conducted with noninvasive MRI. The medical physics team includes Dr. Wieben (co-PI), Sean Fain, Ph.D., and Kevin Johnson, Ph.D.; and the radiology team includes Christopher François, M.D., Diego Hernando, Ph.D., Scott Reeder, M.D., Ph.D., and Alejandro Roldán-Alzate, Ph.D..

Pickhardt Contributes to Award-Winning Colon Cancer Screening Research

A colon cancer diagnostic that only requires a small blood sample was one of two winners of the 2015 Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) Innovation Award. Perry Pickhardt, M.D., lent his colon cancer screening expertise to a team led by Biochemistry Professor Michael Sussman, Ph.D., as they worked to develop the blood test. Colon cancer is the third-most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S., with nearly 100,000 new cases every year. While early detection is vital for saving lives, many people shy away from colonoscopies because of the pre-screening preparation and feelings of invasiveness, according to a University of York study. This makes alternative screening options, like the blood test under development here at UW, even more appealing for colon cancer detection. This new test searches for specific protein biomarkers that indicate the presence of polyps, and early results suggest the test is able to detect cancer early and reliably. The test is currently undergoing an initial study in humans, and the research team is participating in the WARF Accelerator Program to expand the number of trial subjects. Dr. Pickhardt's specific contributions included insights gained from his experience in computed tomographic colonograpy (CTC) surveillance of small unresected polyps. Dr. Pickhardt and colleagues collected blood samples both before and after removal of the polyps, allowing for a search of relevant protein biomarkers that may indicate the presence of polyps. Similar work is being currently conducted with large polyps and cancers. The Innovation Awards showcase the people and ideas that [place] the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the leading edge of scientific research in the nation and world, says Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of WARF. The winning inventions each receive an award of $5,000, with the funds going to the inventors named on the breakthroughs.  

UW Radiology Hosts IR Symposium for Students

Medical students recently had the opportunity to learn about a relatively unknown field of medicine during an event held at the Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR). The UW Department of Radiology hosted the Interventional Radiology Symposium for Students (IRSS), offering lectures from faculty and hands-on activities. Over 40 medical students, medical physicists, and undergraduates attended the inaugural event, which was free of charge due to generous support by the Department of Radiology. The symposium exposed students to the basics of interventional radiology: using medical imaging to guide clinical procedures. Interventional Radiology Section Ch ief Orhan Ozkan, M.D., gave a brief history of interventional radiology (IR) and described the new UW residency program . Subsequent lectures were given by faculty from UW School of Medicine and Public Health, Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), and Rush University with topics such as peripheral arterial disease, ablation, and interventional oncology. In addition, a panel of residents and fellows took questions from symposium attendees regarding career decisions and advice for those interested in pursuing IR. Students were also given the unique opportunity to handle tools and instruments used in clinical IR procedures. Simulators allowed students to experience a glimpse of life as an interventional radiologist, and education stations were sponsored by four industry representatives: Neuwave, Marvel Medtech, Cook, and Boston Scientific. The event was organized by Medical Students Jimmy Xu and Matthew Smith, as well as 3rd-Year Radiology Resident Mircea Cristescu, M.D., MBA. Students interested in Interventional Radiology or Radiology as a medical specialty can contact Matthew Smith of the Radiology Interest Group at mrsmith4@wisc.edu.