Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was invented in the early 80s and has constantly improved ever since, making it possible to diagnose more diseases, more confidently with every passing year. Prenuvo is at the forefront of screening MRI, bringing new techniques that we believe make preventative, whole body imaging possible, safe, and effective.
Faster, more accurate imaging
Whole-body diagnostic quality MRI examinations on standard MRI machines, if possible, usually take 3-4 hours to complete and can cost upwards of $100,000. They are typically reserved for patients with cancer predisposition syndromes and because of the time required to lie still in the machine, often involve the use of general anesthetic. Using proprietary protocols and unique software, a Prenuvo scan typically takes 60 minutes to capture up to x10 the images of other whole body MRIs, for a fraction of the cost and in one sitting. Additionally, the scanner allows the patient’s head to remain outside the machine for much of the imaging session and is wider and more comfortable than a standard machine.
Increased coverage of conditions
New Functional Imaging Techniques
While most MRI scans rely on anatomical imaging, which simply shows organ structures, Prenuvo uses new clinically-proven techniques that make it possible to identify how the organ works. This technique is called functional imaging and it increases the ability of MRI to discriminate accurately many conditions that previously would be indeterminant. Most standard MRI machines are not capable of performing these functional sequences at an acceptable speed, image resolution and signal homogeneity. We continue to develop our methods to expand the scope of conditions that a Prenuvo scan can cover.
Deeper analysis and greater accuracy
Increasing use of artificial Intelligence
Many research studies are showing that AI can play a pivotal role in imaging, either through making radiologists more efficient and make fewer mistakes, or in eventually replacing radiologists for some tasks. Because of this promise, Prenuvo invests heavily in AI. AI approaches are increasingly complementing our core clinical pipeline. Notably, we are excited about the power of AI to make imaging more quantitative and accurate which in turn could lead to earlier diagnoses and more successful interventions.
False-positive rates and incidentalomas
Physicians are notably concerned about whether whole-body screening can increase the rate of false positives and incidental findings, leading to unnecessary and time-consuming follow-ups. To explore this further it is important to understand how MRI has been advancing as a field, what distinguishes Prenuvo from other imaging approaches at a deeper level, and why we have been successful in finding support from hundreds of doctors. We run frequent webinars and online conferences where we discuss these key topics, among other questions.
Whole-body cancer screening exclusive to Prenuvo
Diffusion Weighted Imaging
At Prenuvo, the single biggest evolution in our rate of detection and accuracy of detection has been the mastering of 3D diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) for whole body scans. By expanding the use of DWI beyond brain and spinal scans, Prenuvo can identify smaller masses less than 1cm in size, as well as masses that are located in parts of the body that cannot be detected through manual screening.
Do you use contrast in your MRIs?
We never offer contrast on any of Prenuvo scans. We believe the combination of sequences that we take performs as well as contrast-enhanced MRI for tumor detection.
How are you different from other whole body MRI services?
There are so many differences between a Prenuvo scan and other whole body MRI services that we generally don't make comparisons. - Sequences and filters used – To make sure that there is a low false-positive rate, it is essential to image your body with multiple filters (multiparametric imaging). Most other whole body providers do not use many filters in their screening protocol. In our protocol, this is the key to our low false-positive rate. - Quality and quantity of the images — We take up to 2000 high-quality images inside your body. The basic rule is that more images provide more details. We capture up to 10x more images than some other "Whole Body MRIs". - One-time scanning — We scan you from head to toe during one 50-75min scan. Other providers scan parts of the body, missing entire sections, and call it a whole body scan. - Price – Our services are less expensive than our competitors.
How does your scan compare to 3T MRIs?
Bigger is not always better. A 3T MRI is a great option for a detailed brain or knee study. Unfortunately, 3T performs poorly for whole body imaging due to wavelength interference (physics!) and imaging artifacts (more physics!). Additionally, a 3T MRI increases the body temperature 4x more than a 1.5T MRI which limits the number of images a 3T can obtain in the same time frame. Therefore, 3T MRIs are best used for single body parts. As we specialize in whole body imaging, we use a 1.5T MRI.
How effective is the Prenuvo scan for breast cancer versus mammography?
Mammography remains the gold standard screening test for breast cancer. Mammography and the Prenuvo scan compliment each other. Mammography is capable of seeing small micro-calcifications in the breast that MRI does not see. Although breast calcifications are often noncancerous (benign), certain patterns of calcifications — such as tight clusters with irregular shapes and fine appearances may indicate breast cancer or precancerous changes to breast tissue. Our MRI scan, on the other hand, demonstrates positive results in visualizing breast cancer through dense breast tissue, which mammograms can be less effective at.
Is a CT or MRI better at finding tumors in screening?
MRI. As a screening exam, a CT cannot use contrast. In this context, a CT scan has a problem differentiating tumors. This is because a CT focuses on density. The density of a tumor is not greatly different from the density of a benign lesion such as a cyst, but has a vastly different significance. A CT scan can miss many tumors and equally concerning, can more often lead to additional testing when it is unnecessary. Importantly, CT scans cannot accurately assess breast tumors or liver tumors. CT scans also use radiation, while MRI does not.
Is your scan more accurate than a PET scan?
Due to the radiation dose used, PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography - Computed Tomography) is rarely used to screen for cancer. PET-CT is expensive and subjects you to both gamma and X-ray radiation. The PET portion of PET-CT uses gamma radiation to detect the metabolic activity of a tumor. The CT portion obtains many X-ray images which are overlaid on the PET images to assist in determining the exact location of the tumor in the body. PET has limited use in the kidneys, ureters, and bladder because the radioactive injection is excreted through the urinary system and is highly concentrated in these areas during the scan. The Prenuvo scan does not have these issues and is more sensitive than PET-CT for tumors of the urinary system.
What is the difference between a CT scan and an MRI?
There are many organs which are better assessed with MRI over CT. For example, in the uterus, a CT scans may only report a "possible fibroid measuring 10 mm", whereas an MRI can show more certainty in saying "an 8 mm intramural fibroid". The MRI is more definitive on its composition and exact location. CT scans show densities such as coronary artery calcifications, and this is one of the main benefit from a CT over an MRI. The MRI shows more precise imaging for brain, brain arteries (which are not well imaged on a non-contrast CT), as well as every organ in the neck, breasts, abdomen, and pelvis. CT is generally better for assessing the esophagus, lung, and stomach. The major downside of a CT scan is that it uses ionizing radiation. For example, a CT scan can use 79.7mGy of radiation. This is the equivalent of 800 chest x-rays and 22 years of background radiation every time you go for a CT scan. With MRI, there is no ionizing radiation, making it a safe test.
What is the difference between an ultrasound and an MRI?
It is difficult to compare ultrasound to MRI. There are a few areas where ultrasound really shines — notably in confirming kidney stones because MRI is less able to see these small calcifications in the kidneys. But ultrasound suffers from a poor field of vision (kind of like shining a light under the water, where the depth of field can be a bit murky) which means that it sometimes misses things. A good example was an ovarian cyst we found recently in a woman that received a normal ultrasound because the cyst was likely confused with a section of the bowel. An MRI is a completely different modality. It is three-dimensional so if you see something of interest, you know exactly what organ it is in. And we don't just take run-of-the-mill MRIs. We take many different tissue weightings which means, not only can we determine that "something is there" but we can distinguish if that something is a cyst, abscess, or solid tumor.
What specific sequences do you use in the Prenuvo scans?
We perform a comprehensive set of protocols that image the entire body. These include brain quantification, arterial assessment, fat quantification as well as dedicated cancer and spinal screening. Our custom tailored whole body MRI protocol is based on MRI tissue-contrasts based on T1-weighted, T2-weighted, Fat-suppressed and non-fat-suppressed, and DWI techniques, a combination of evidence-based and emerging technologies that offer the most comprehensive diagnostic imaging in a reasonable time frame.
Research & Resources
30 January 2023 | Early Detection, Preventative Health, Health
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