Noninvasive Device for Fmri Studies in Cocaine Abuse

Period of Performance: 09/30/2000 - 08/31/2002


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Insight Neuroimaging Systems, LLC
Worcester, MA 01610
Principal Investigator


Long Range Objective - To increase our understanding of drug abuse by developing noninvasive devices for use in fMRI of awake animal models of cocaine addiction. Phase I - The present project requires developing technology for imaging 5-10 kg rhesus monkeys with fMRI. The PROTOTYPE we propose to develop will restrain their head and body components but leave the hands free to manipulate operant controls for cognitive studies and drug self-administration. Given the size and strength of rhesus and the larger brain volume it will be necessary to design specialized RF electronics and restrainers. The research plan is (i) to design electronics to optimize spatial resolution and signal-to-noise using a combination volume coil and phased-array surface coil to send and receive, respectively RF signals (ii) design the chassis, head and body restraints with incorporation of operant technology for drug administration. Health Relatedness - Using fMRI in animals to study brain activity and function will make it possible to (i) design prospective studies to understand the etiology and progression of substance abuse, and (ii) evaluate the site of action and efficacy of new drugs developed for the treatment of addiction. The products developed in this project will help realize these potential applications in fMRI allowing researchers to perform studies on fully conscious monkeys in any size MR spectrometer. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: In the last five years, there was over 7,000 full length publications on MRI in animals, without a single reference to an awake animal. The technological innovations proposed by INSL are expected to expand the applications of MRI into preclinical functional imaging in animal models of drugs of abuse. These applications might include brain imaging and novel drug testing in substance abuse.