Multidimensional MRI Signature for Specific Detection of Traumatic Brain Injury In Vivo

National Cancer Institute Background
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents a major medical, social and economic concern worldwide due to significant mortality – especially among younger populations – and long-term disabilities. Various pathological brain lesions (e.g., intracerebral bleedings, necrotic-ischemic lesions, tissue avulsion) are produced by impacting mechanical forces. Among these, diffuse axonal injury (DAI) is one of the most significant brain lesions typically associated with trauma. However, DAI is not necessarily linked with TBI exposure. Therefore, the term “traumatic axonal injury (TAI)” is commonly used. TAI is a specific form of DAI.
Technology Overview
Multidimensional MRI-based methods permit identification and categorization of brain specimens to identify sub-voxel tissue components specific to traumatic axon injury or other lesions. Lower dimensional MR spectral data is acquired and processed to provide multidimensional MR data of higher dimensions. One or more spectral ranges are selected that define signatures for brain injury. Evaluation of the multidimensional MR data in these ranges is used to locate voxels associated with brain injury. The invention pertains to noninvasive methods of assessing nervous system injury, particularly TBI – both mild and severe.
A unique TAI multidimensional spectral signature can be measured and used to generate biomarker images closely following amyloid precursor protein (“APP”) histopathology: APP-positive areas scale with multidimensional TAI biomarker intensity and negative APP corresponds to reduced or absent MRI signal. This specificity of the multidimensional TAI biomarkers permit so-called “noninvasive histology.” One or more T1-T2-MD ranges can be identified and specifically linked to TAI microscopic tissue alterations. T1, T2 and diffusion dynamics can be different in fixed compared with living tissue. Therefore, different T1-T2-MD ranges can be selected for fixed and living tissues.
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) seeks research co-development partners and/or licensees for the development of multidimensional MRI-based methods.
Further Details:

Benjamini D, et al. Multidimensional MRI for Characterization of Subtle Axonal Injury Accelerated Using an Adaptive Nonlocal Multispectral Filter. (
Benjamini D, et al. Diffuse axonal injury has a characteristic multidimensional MRI signature in the human brain. (PMID 25838374).

Stage of Development

Discovery (Lead Identification)


Noninvasive diagnostic technique
Provides substantially more discrete data than prior methodologies
Produces measurements with high specificity
Unique TAI multidimensional spectral signatures can be measured and used to generate biomarker images


Diagnosis and assessment of patients with TBI
Noninvasive histology


This invention is available for licensing and co-development


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