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Project Information
Project Title:  Magnetic Resonance Imaging Toolbox for Assessment of Lung Structure and Function in the Early Years of Life
Period:  from: 2021-04-01 to: 2026-03-31  
Principal Investigator(s): Santyr, Giles E.  
Co-Investigators: Ratjen, Felix ; Subbarao, Padmaja ; Zanette, Brandon  
Supervisors:  
Previous Investigators/Supervisors:  
Institution: Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto)  
Department: Physiology and Experimental Medicine 
Agency: Canadian Institutes of Health Research 
Program: Project Grant 
Keywords: ASTHMA, CYSTIC FIBROSIS, FREE BREATHING, HARDWARE, LUNG FUNCTION, LUNG STRUCTURE, MRI, PRESCHOOLERS, SOFTWARE, TREATMENT 
Abstract: Pediatric lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and asthma represent a growing health care burden to Canada. CF is the most common fatal genetic disease in Canadian children characterized by progressive decline of lung function and frequent hospitalizations due to repeated infections and associated monitoring and treatment. Though rarely fatal, severe asthma significantly reduces quality of life and more effective treatments are needed to manage symptoms, especially in younger patients (e.g., preschoolers). Highly effective CF and asthma therapies are becoming available for preschoolers, but these treatments can have significant side effects so need to be guided by sensitive measures of lung function. We believe magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be a robust tool for monitoring lung structure and function in preschoolers with CF and asthma. The goal of this proposal is to develop novel lung MRI tools appropriate for preschoolers, who may not be able to remain still, follow breathing instructions or hold their breath during scanning. We will design methods to enable free-breathing lung MRI, tolerant of spontaneous patient motion and able to image lung function without breath-holds. We will also test these methods in preschoolers with CF and asthma, including response to treatments. The proposed research will establish an MRI toolbox suitable for robust lung imaging of preschoolers and readily deployable to hospitals across Canada. The development of lung MRI for preschoolers with CF and severe asthma would represent a significant advance over current pulmonary function tests which are typically inconclusive. This toolbox will provide the basis for designing subsequent clinical trials using MRI as an outcome measure for developing improved treatments for CF and asthma in the early years of life. Furthermore, these approaches would be extendable in future to even younger children, including neonates suffering from lung diseases of prematurity. 

Funding Information
Fiscal Year Amount
2021-22 $125,527
2022-23 $125,527
Total: $251,054