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MRI Visualization Tool for Crohn's Disease Assessment

Yael Zaffrani, Anat Ilivitzki, and Moti Freiman


Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which often presents with discontinuous transmural inflammation of the distal ileum and proximal colon. Individuals with this disease often suffer from diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and/or weight loss. Currently most individuals are diagnosed using ileocolonoscopy, which is an invasive procedure. Magnetic resonance enterography (MRE) is a non-invasive procedure that has the ability to become the standard diagnostic tool for Crohn’s disease. A challenge of using an MRE for diagnosis is it requires scrolling back and forth to understand the anatomy of the bowel from 2D images making it difficult to fully appreciate the disease extent.

Materials and Methods

The goal of this project was to design and implement an open-source based software tool that would enable the presentation of the MR data in MPR views, thus providing a better description of the disease. These improvements have the potential to lead to better assessments of medical therapies and decision-making for surgical treatments. Using software programming in python we created open source software to provide a depiction of the disease state on a single image. This enables the visualization of extraction of Crohn’s disease quantitative imaging markers.

MPR Diagram


Next steps would include starting a clinical trial to compare measurements between conventional approaches and our MPR software tool. Endoscopic measurements should be used as the reference standard. Advanced algorithms should be implemented for centerline extraction. Finally, our software should be integrated with the MR system, with the long-term goal of replacing the conventional approach.

Demonstration of Software Use

This project was awarded 2nd place in the Technion's Underegrad Project's Day Competition on August 20, 2020! Check out the announcement (in Hebrew) on the Technion's webpage here.
See Yael's presentation on her work (in Hebrew) here.

Research supported by the Israel Innovation Authority MPR Diagram