DS04 - Vie, santé et bien-être

Shape fitted MRI bra coil – Bracoil

Submission summary

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the technique of reference to replace ionizing X-ray mammography for screening of breast cancer for women at risk. However, conventional MR mammography has several drawbacks in terms of specificity due to low temporal resolution, patient comfort and adaptation to breast morphology.

The objective of BRACOIL is to develop a clinically viable, new hard- and software package enabling a paradigm-shift in MR mammography.

This objective will be reached by four breakthroughs in conception and technology of the breast MRI screening procedure:
1. We propose to perform the measurement in a face-up (supine) position to gain in patient comfort and to stay in the same position as during second stage diagnostics (i.e., biopsy, ultrasound).
2. Light-weight and shape-adapted breast coils will be designed to fit the patient just like a bra. In addition, owing to the better form-fitting of these coils as compared to the state-of-the art “one-size-fits-all” breast coils, the sensitivity of the measurement will be strongly improved.
3. The expected additional motion artefacts arising from the supine positioning due to breathing will be corrected for by employing sophisticated motion management techniques based on sensors for motion and impedance monitoring, combined with mathematical correction algorithms.
4. With the gained sensitivity from breakthroughs 2 and 3, the way is paved for more advanced MR imaging techniques that provide more specific contrasts like diffusion or arterial spin labelling. Within this project we will investigate another imaging modality based on impedance measurements with all radio frequency coil elements, called impedance tomography, which can be used as an additional imaging contrast in parallel to the MRI acquisition. With the availability of such multi-contrast imaging techniques, we might enable completely non-invasive breast screening exams by rendering the use of contrast agents unnecessary.

To achieve breakthrough 1, mechanically adjustable breast holders in three different cup sizes will be developed using 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies. For breakthrough 2, new radiofrequency coil array concepts based on transmission line resonators will be employed. These sensitive and extremely light-weight coil elements will be built in housings that perfectly fit the shape of the breast holders, increasing the MRI signal-to-noise ratio. Breakthrough 3 will be achieved by integrating a localization system (with motion and impedance sensors, and markers) in the novel device to correct for motion of the patient, leading to a strong improvement in diagnostic value of the acquired images. For breakthrough 4, another innovative contrast mechanism is introduced. We will use the scattering parameter data of the coil array elements to obtain an “impedance tomography” image by mathematically solving an inverse problem. The final phase of the project is dedicated to an in-vivo validation study of the developed setup in healthy volunteers, investigating both the technical performance (in Vienna) and the clinical usability performance (in Nancy). The consortium includes expert partners in the field of breast MRI and motion management (Nancy, France), light-weight and flexible transmission line radio frequency coil elements (Paris, France), and coil array design development and medical product certification (Vienna, Austria). The consortium is accompanied by outstanding medical experts in breast screening.

The project outcome will be valorized by patents and commercialization of the developed technology package together with industrial partners, as has already been successfully demonstrated for other innovative coil technologies by the Vienna group.
In conclusion, BRACOIL has the potential to develop disruptive technology in the field of breast cancer screening and would improve both patient comfort and specificity of the diagnosis.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


UPSud IR4M Université Paris Sud Imagerie par Résonance Magnétique Médicale et Multi-Modalités
CMPBME Center for Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering

Help of the ANR 650,342 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 36 Months

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