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MRI Ultrasound Fusion Guided Biopsy: New Frontiers in Care and Research

A technology known as MRI Ultrasound Fusion Guided Biopsy is enabling doctors in the Department of Urology to perform more accurate prostate biopsies. This system, often called “fusion biopsy”, allows our urologists and radiologists to blend MRI and ultrasound imaging to identify areas of potentially aggressive disease and target biopsies with greater precision.

Fusion biopsy is one of the most exciting recent advances in prostate cancer diagnosis and research. This technology combines multi-parametric MRI with real-time ultrasound to provide a 3D visualization of the prostate that enables physicians to track and target suspicious areas during prostate biopsy. Because it is more accurate than other methods, MRI–ultrasound fusion has the potential to help diagnose prostate cancer with greater accuracy and avoid unnecessary invasive biopsy procedures.

This technology is not only helpful in determining surveillance protocol for patients; it is also a research tool for Sven Wenske, M.D., Assistant Professor of Urology at CUMC, who studies treatment regimens for prostate cancer and the ways in which the disease often resists them.

Dr. Wenske, a recipient of a two year grant from the New York State Department of Health, utilizes fusion biopsy to further the understanding of prostate cancer biology and treatment response to different medications in vitro.  Fusion biopsy is pivotal to this research because it helps Dr. Wenske identify viable tumors which can then be tested with current and new therapies to monitor the growth progress of prostate cancer.  According to Dr. Wenske, “Further investigation of these mechanisms through identification of involved genes would help scientists understand this process better and allow for the development of new drugs that would circumvent resistance.”

Whether the technology is used as a diagnostic tool or for research, the Department of Urology is committed to realizing the full benefits of fusion biopsy for patients at Columbia and beyond.