In a multi-year study, USC researchers are partnering with researchers from around the country to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to understand the long-term effect of statin drugs on the arterial blockages associated with atherosclerosis, the world’s leading cause of death and disability. 

Patrick Colletti, MD, professor of radiology, Keck School of Medicine of USC and chief of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Los Angeles County (LAC)+USC Medical Center, and his colleagues are imaging the carotid arteries of atherosclerosis patients to compare the impact of a variety of cholesterol medications on plaque deposits that narrow and block arteries.

Cholesterol plaque in artery (atherosclerosis): Top artery is healthy. Middle and bottom arteries show plaque formation, rupturing, clotting, and blood flow occlusion.

“It’s possible to conduct the research in the clinic, but it’s much harder. The SC CTSI Clinical Trials Unit provides a stable space for us to conduct this work efficiently.”

Patrick Colletti, MD – Professor of radiology, Keck School of Medicine of USC; chief of magnetic resonance imaging, LAC+USC Medical Center

Ultimately, the researchers hope to use this MRI approach to predict which patients will need more aggressive or different forms of therapy to reduce their risk of strokes and related problems. The SC CTSI made the study possible at USC with access to the SC CTSI CTU.

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important - All publications resulting from the utilization of SC CTSI resources are required to credit the SC CTSI grant by including the NIH funding acknowledgment and must comply with the NIH Public Access Policy.