May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, a topic we at Pulse ISM hold in our hearts because we are committed to connecting medical supply companies, many of which sell equipment with the ability to detect brain tumors, to hospitals and other medical offices. As this month comes to an end, we would like to reflect on the importance of bringing awareness to research, treatment, and early detection of these brain tumors. The National Brain Tumor Society estimates that “84,100 people will receive a primary brain tumor diagnosis and 18,600 people will die from a malignant brain tumor in the United States in 2021 alone.”
Detecting brain tumors early is important for doctors to determine the best option for treating these tumors effectively. The most common way to detect brain tumors is through an MRI scan. Although MRIs have the capability to be lifesaving, sometimes brain tumors can go undetected or be misdiagnosed. Excitingly, technological advances are improving the distinguishability of brain tumors on MRI scans.
In October of 2020, Science Advances published “Twofold improved tumor-to-brain contrast using a novel T1 relaxation-enhanced steady-state (T₁RESS) MRI technique,” a study that looked at a new 3D technique developed to create better visibility of brain tumors on MRI scans. The technique was developed by Dr. Robert Edelman at Northwestern University. The T₁RESS technique uses a different sequence of pulsing radio waves and magnetic fields to create a more detailed MRI scan.
A New MRI Technique
The T₁RESS technique can detect brain tumors easier because they show up brighter on the scan, which results in greater contrast between the tumor and the rest of the brain tissue. Compared to a normal MRI scan, “the T₁RESS technique is able to double the contrast between a brain tumor and normal brain tissue.” The use of this technique will help radiologists detect smaller brain tumors, which is useful for the early detection of these tumors and allow patients to begin treatment earlier. The technique can also be useful for patients after brain tumor removal surgery to ensure that the entirety of the tumor was removed. According to the National Brain Tumor Society, given that the current “five-year survival rate of patients with malignant brain tumors is only 36%”, this new technique has created a great opportunity for doctors to find brain tumors in some patients earlier than ever before.
The results of the study look to a bright future for the detection and analysis of brain tumors. Dr. Edelman described the new technique with a helpful metaphor: “It’s like looking at the stars on a dark night instead of on a sunny day.” The T₁RESS technique will undergo further studies with larger groups of participants to ensure the accuracy of the technique along with the possibility of using it for the detection of other tumors. Dr. Edelman is hopeful that the T₁RESS technique software will be made widely available for hospitals in the future.
We’re Looking Forward to More Advances in this Crucial Area of Healthcare
The research and advancement of MRI technology is something that is crucial in finding a cure for malignant brain tumors. The T₁RESS technique is a groundbreaking discovery for the radiology field, which brings hope to the brain tumor community. At Pulse ISM, we hope to continue to see further advancements, such as the T₁RESS technique, in order to give people with brain tumors the best care, treatment, and outcome.
New 3D technique boosts brain tumor visibility on MRI (2020). Accessed April 12, 2021, via:
Edelman, R., Leloudas, N., Pang, J., Bailes, J., Merrell, & R., Koktzoglou, I. (2020). Twofold improved tumor-to-brain contrast using a novel T1 relaxation-enhanced steady-state (T₁RESS) MRI technique. Science Advances, 6(44): eabd1635. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abd1635 Accessed May 12, 2021, via: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/44/eabd1635
National Brain Tumor Society (2021). Quick brain tumor facts. Accessed May 12, 2021, via: