a photo of doctor marincola and doctor haris

Sidra Applies for First-Ever Patent Patent – Use of MRI Techniques to Monitor Cancer Cells

Sidra Medical and Research Center today announced its first patent application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The application is for the first non-invasive technique for monitoring cancer progression, a procedure which could positively impact treatment methodologies for patients.

The technique, invented by Sidra researchers Dr. Francesco Marincola and Dr. Mohamed Haris, is for the use of non-invasive Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to detect levels of the Creatine Kinase (CK) enzyme inside a patient’s cancerous tissue. CK is an enzyme found in the heart, brain, skeletal muscle and other tissues. Patients suffering from cancer tend to have higher levels of CK; measuring the presence of which helps determine existence or progression of cancer.

Sidra’s new procedure has both diagnostic and patient management implications. The MRI-based technique requires patients to receive an injection of phosphocreatine solution, which is visualized by an MRI, helping doctors get a clear image of what is happening inside. It will help assess whether a tumor is benign or aggressive without the need for a biopsy. This will have a significant impact on the treatment and recovery times of patients as it has the potential to help them embark on required treatment programs faster – particularly if CK expressions determine tumor malignancy. Using diagnostic markers determined through this technique will also help in drug design; enabling clinicians to see which drug combinations are most effective, as well as in monitoring patients’ medication intake.

“While there are other techniques being used to monitor CK activity, there is no current method which can provide high-resolution imaging of CK expression in a patient’s cancerous tissue. Detection of CK expression in vivo, meaning inside the patient’s tissue without the need for sample removal, provides a definite diagnostic marker for tumor malignancy, as well as response to treatment. Our invention will allow for routine examinations of cancer patients and improve the ability to track cancer progression by increasing detection sensitivity and delivering a high-resolution image of what’s happening inside,”

said Dr. Mohammad Haris, Principal Investigator, Sidra Medical and Research Center.

“We’re looking forward to embarking on the next phase – clinical trials – so that all the measures and protocols are in place before this new technique is ready for launch. While there is a possibility that further trials and research can take time, we are excited to showcase that Sidra is a serious contender in the research genre. This patent is testament to the commitment and dedication of the Sidra research team and our efforts to bring pioneering research capabilities to Qatar,”

said Dr. Francesco Marincola, Chief Research Officer, Sidra Medical and Research Center.

Sidra’s first patent comes as the state-of-the-art women’s and children’s facility moves ahead with its research focus around prioritizing translational research programs and supporting clinicians in the practice of personalized medicine. Sidra’s mission is to conduct innovative research relevant to women’s and children’s health that addresses Qatar’s national priorities by enhancing the quality of life for its citizens. As such, most of the programs undertaken by the Research Branch will support the concept of personalized medicine and revolutionize the approach to patient care. Other world-class research programs that are underway include a study to determine contributing factors to developing gestational diabetes and Sidra’s participation in the Qatar Genome Project.

“Today marks what we hope will be the first of many cutting-edge breakthroughs and milestones that the research arm of Sidra will bring to enhancing patient care in Qatar. Innovation in patient care is at the heart of Sidra’s mission and the new technique demonstrates Sidra’s commitment to being a leading provider of world-class care,”

said Dr. Mohammad Fathy Saoud, Vice Chairperson of the Board of Governors and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Sidra Medical and Research Center.

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