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Loyola first in state to use new MRI/ultrasound imaging for prostate cancer detection, treatment

MAYWOOD, Il. (Feb. 10, 2014) - Loyola University Medical Center is the first hospital in Illinois to use a new combination MRI-ultrasound imaging system that can result in fewer biopsies and better treatment decisions for prostate cancer patients.

The technology, called UroNav®, fuses images from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with ultrasound to create a detailed, three-dimensional view of the prostate. This improved view helps physicians perform biopsies with much higher precision, and increases prostate cancer detection, said Loyola prostate cancer surgeon Gopal Gupta, MD.

“This is revolutionizing how we diagnose prostate cancer and make treatment decisions,” Dr. Gupta said.

When prostate cancer is suspected due to results of a PSA blood test or digital rectal exam, a physician performs a prostate biopsy. This typically involves sticking a needle into 12 different areas of the prostate. But this traditional method can miss a tumor. Consequently, the physician either will falsely conclude the patient does not have cancer, or will perform one or more additional biopsies to find the suspected tumor.

In the new fusion method, the patient undergoes a MRI exam before undergoing a biopsy. The MRI can detect lesions in the prostate that may be cancerous. During the biopsy, the MR image is fused with ultrasound imaging. The system employs GPS-type technology to guide the biopsy needle to the lesions detected by the MRI, leading to significantly fewer needle biopsies.

“Compared with traditional biopsy techniques that randomly sample the prostate, the new technology helps prevent physicians from missing hard-to-find and often aggressive prostate cancers,” Dr. Gupta said. “This potentially will help provide greater certainty regarding the extent and aggressiveness of the disease. And it could enable patients to avoid multiple and unnecessary repeat prostate biopsies.”

Traditional biopsies lack precision, which can lead to either too much treatment or not enough treatment, Dr. Gupta said. For example, if the biopsy fails to identify an aggressive tumor, the patient may be undertreated. Conversely, a patient may undergo surgery or radiation for a tumor that likely would grow too slowly to endanger the patient during his expected lifetime.

Biopsies guided by MRI/ultrasound fusion will enable physicians and patients to opt for active surveillance, when appropriate. Under active surveillance, the patient waits on having surgery or radiation and instead undergoes periodic digital rectal exams, PSA tests and ultrasounds to see whether the cancer is growing.

MRI/ultrasound fusion “is the next generation of MRI evaluation in the fight against prostate cancer,” said Loyola radiologist Ari Goldberg, MD, PhD.

MRI/ultrasound fusion is among the “hottest clinical procedures” in imaging, according to AuntMinnie.com, the respected medical imaging website. Other examples of the latest imaging technologies include molecular breast imaging, PET scans for Alzheimer’s disease and CT screening for lung cancer. Every one of these new imaging techniques already is offered at Loyola University Health System, or will be soon.

“These leading-edge imaging technologies will improve patient care by enabling physicians to detect and characterize abnormalities at the earliest possible stages,” said Scott Mirowitz, MD, chair of Loyola’s Department of Radiology. “The techniques also will give physicians better insight into whether, for example, a cancer has spread, and how effective a treatment has been.”

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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