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Lucio Frydman, PhD

Lucio Frydman, PhD

Grant Status

Weizmann Institute of Science

Grant Type
Project Grant

Project Title
High Field Deuterium MRI: A Transformative Tool in the Study and Diagnosis of Cancer

Tumor Types

Research Topics
Cancer Metabolism, Deuterium Magnetic Resonance, Early Detection, MRI, Pancreatic Cancer

About the Investigator:

Dr. Frydman is an internationally-recognized expert in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a technique that has transformed diagnosis and treatment of cancer. He earned his BSc and PhD degrees from the University of Buenos Aires, and following postdoctoral studies at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory he joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he rapidly advanced to the position of Professor of Chemistry. He moved to Israel in 2001, when he was recruited to the Weizmann Institute as Professor of Chemical Physics and Director of the Helen and Martin Kimmel Institute of Magnetic Resonance and Director of the Clore Institute for High Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy. He currently heads the Department of Chemical and Biological Physics, and is Chief Scientist in Chemistry and Biology at the US National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Florida.

About the Research:

Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in both the US and Israel. Pancreatic cancer appears to develop slowly, over as much as ten years, but there are not reliable screening tests to enable early diagnosis and treatment. Imaging techniques are widely used to identify and diagnose many kinds of tumors (a well known example is mammography for breast cancer), but despite considerable effort, imaging has had little impact on early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

Tumor cells metabolize nutrients more rapidly than normal cells, and some tumors can be detected by using a “contrast” agent to identify regions of rapid metabolism that are sites of tumor cell proliferation. In research supported by an ICRF-funded Acceleration Grant, Dr. Frydman’s laboratory has recently shown that metabolic imaging of pancreatic tissue with a contrast agent that contains deuterium enables tumors to be detected in early stages and distinguished from other pancreatic disease (pancreatitis). Deuterium is a naturally occurring atom, one of two stable isotypes of hydrogen, and unlike some contrast agents in current use, it is not harmful. This proposal will help to establish the ability of deuterium metabolic imaging for early detection of pancreatic cancer and for assessing the efficacy of cancer treatments. The tools developed in the course of this research are likely to have profound clinical and biological impact.


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