Functional Lung Avoidance Radiation Therapy Using Hyperpolarized Xenon-129 MRI

  • End date
    Aug 31, 2026
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Xemed LLC
Updated on 25 April 2022
lung carcinoma
small lung


Cancer radiation treatment plans that employ lung functional avoidance methods require 3D maps that differentiate regions of healthy lung function from regions of compromised tissue to deliver sufficient dose to the tumor while preserving as much functioning lung as possible. Hyperpolarized xenon-129 MRI can provide maps of ventilatory function and gas exchange to the bloodstream. Improving treatment plans based on this novel imaging modality could reduce risk or severity of radiation pneumonitis and improve post-treatment quality of life.


Customized 3D planning of radiation therapy for lung cancer delivers a lethal dose to the tumor region while avoiding important structures (spine) and organs (esophagus, heart, lungs). Since radiation dose to functioning lung is associated with acute radiation pneumonitis and chronic radiation fibrosis, researchers seek to shift dosage preferentially away from lung regions with highest function. Several lung functional imaging modalities have been investigated (ventilation-perfusion SPECT and PET, 4DCT, hyperpolarized 3He). These studies indicate that regional ventilation is not the optimal biomarker. What is needed is a high-resolution imaging modality, tolerable to patients who have difficulty holding their breath, that delineates regions of full lung function warranting preservation, and also identifies regions whose function is irrevocably gone.

The investigators propose a translational study applying Hyperpolarized Xenon (HXe) MRI to improve lung-health outcomes for lung cancer patients treated with radiation therapy. This study will focus on a patient cohort with significant heterogeneity: new patients with lung cancer and GOLD stage 3+ emphysema as a comorbidity and patients receiving RT for their second (primary) lung cancer. Optimizing radiation therapy treatment plans could provide a statistically significant benefit within a manageably small patient cohort. Maps will delineate three regions of functionality: regions of full function, having both ventilation and gas exchange to blood (where radiation should be reduced), regions where function is irrevocably absent (where radiation dose can be increased), and regions where function may be present or recoverable (where radiation should remain at the normal dose limit). In the first year the investigators will conduct an open-label Phase 1 clinical trial to optimize the hardware and functional imaging protocols, as well as generate and perform targeted RT treatment in a limited number of patients, with safety as the primary endpoint.

Condition Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
Treatment Hyperpolarized Xenon MRI
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05302817
SponsorXemed LLC
Last Modified on25 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Patients over 18 years with a diagnosis of non-small lung cancer and planned for a definitive course of radiation therapy
Preferred patients will have had successful radiation therapy for a prior lung cancer and developed a secondary lung cancer for which are to be treated
Other de-nuovo lung cancer patients planned for radiation therapy with lung heterogeneity from natural co-morbidities (e.g., COPD stage 3+)

Exclusion Criteria

Patients less than 18 years old
Patients known to be pregnant - a positive pregnancy test will be used to respectively exclude pregnant patients
Any known contraindication to MRI examination
Anyone with an implanted metal device
Inability to provide informed consent
A language, communication, cognitive or behavioral impairment that might interfere with fully informed participation in the study
History of uncompensated organ failure (i.e. organ failure that is not stabilized through medical intervention), which will be assessed by the PI
Homelessness or other unstable living situation
Active drug or alcohol dependence
Subjects weighting more than 300 pounds
Subjects with chest size larger than the bore of MRI machine can accommodate
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