New views of heart disease  pg. 2

MR technology has several other applications to cardiovascular medicine as well—monitoring bone-marrow derived stem cells used in cardiac regenerative therapy is one example.

At Vanderbilt, for example, Darryl J. Bornhop, Ph.D., and his colleagues in the Department of Chemistry are developing “contrast agents” that could bind to the transplanted stem cells to track their health and survival.

MR eventually may be used to screen high-risk patients for pre-symptomatic signs of cardiovascular disease.

“Once there’s a blockage, the horse is out of the barn,” says Lawson. With the improved spatial resolution of stronger magnets, “we could see atherosclerotic changes in the wall of the artery before blockage forms.”

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