Most meningiomas are slowly growing lesions of which 90% are classified as benign. Neurosurgeons generally avoid operating on patients with small meningiomas, particularly those which are difficult to access surgically and prefer to carefully monitor tumor growth. Monitoring includes neurologic evaluation and periodically acquiring Magnetic Resonance (MR) scans of the patient’s brain. In clinical practice, finding evidence for subtle growth from MR scans can be very difficult, particularly between scans taken at relatively short intervals.
To address this gap, Dr. Kikinis has developed a semi-automatic procedure, called ChangeTracker, specifically targeted towards identifying difficult-to-detect changes in pathology. ChangeTracker is easy to calibrate and, in less than five minutes, returns the total area of tumor change in cm3. Dr. Kikinis has tested the tool on postgadolinium, T1-weighted MRI acquired through a standard clinical acquisition sequence. The tests indicate that ChangeTracker is more accurate in detecting subtle growth than current clinical procedures. This approach is disseminated as part of the 3D Slicer, a publicly available software package targeted towards medical imaging processing and visualization.
In 2009, Dr. Kikinis plans to further develop, maintain, and disseminate the ChangeTracker. It is his hypothesis that the development will further increase the robustness of ChangeTracker in identifying subtle growth that would have gone unnoticed by current clinical procedures. Dr. Kikinis will also assess the ability to analyze multiple time points.