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Yale Team Receives ARPA-H Award for Affordable Breast MRI

July 05, 2024

A Yale School of Medicine (YSM) team has been awarded $22 million to develop a more affordable method for breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The award comes from the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Researchers say while mammography is the current standard of care for breast cancer screening, its sensitivity is not particularly high. “MRI is by far the best imaging modality for breast cancer detection,” said R. Todd Constable, PhD, professor of radiology & biomedical imaging at YSM and principal investigator of the new study. “But because it is so expensive, it’s not widely available and used only minimally.”

In previous studies, Constable’s team found a way to bypass the usual MRI constraint of a high homogeneous magnetic field. Researchers say their method will allow for breast-specific MRI devices using smaller, cheaper magnets at a tenth of the cost of the current standard. “This will allow these devices to be placed in community health clinics, greatly expand women’s access to MRI screening, and allow such screening to be part of a woman’s annual checkup,” Constable said.

Created by an act of Congress in 2022, ARPA-H is dedicated to funding breakthrough advances in health care.

Key members of the Yale research team include Gigi Galiana, PhD, and John Lewin, MD, both of Yale Radiology & Biomedical Imaging and members of Yale Cancer Center. “Our project fits ARPA-H’s goal of supporting high-risk, high-impact research,” Constable said, “and the funding they provide will allow us to start making a difference in a short period of time.”

Submitted by Robert Forman on July 05, 2024