Dr. Yuen is a kidney doctor and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. His major research interest is the study of kidney scarring, a process that is ultimately responsible for nearly all cases of kidney failure.
There is currently no good test to detect this scarring. The best test available is a needle biopsy, which is associated with significant bleeding risks, requires a day of monitoring, and can not sample and analyze the entire kidney. A new type of MRI called “MR elastography” has been proven to accurately measure scarring in the liver, but not yet in the kidney. It does not need any injections, can be done in 30 minutes, and may be able to measure scar throughout the entire kidney without needles.
The Physicians’ Services Incorporated Foundation is supporting a research project in which Dr. Yuen and colleagues are testing the potential ability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure kidney scarring, comparing it against biopsy analysis. Together with Dr. Anish Kirpalani, a radiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital, and a team of kidney doctors, pathologists, and imaging experts, Dr. Yuen hopes to determine if MRI can measure scar in the transplanted kidneys of people with both normal and abnormal transplant function. This could drastically change how a doctor treats transplant failure.