Franklyn Howe is a Professor of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). He uses MRI to obtain structural information of tissue pathology and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to provide a chemical profile with a focus on brain tumours and stroke.
Professor Howe is developing structural and functional neuroimaging techniques to improve diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours, dementia and stroke. Professor Howe also widely collaborates within St George's using MRI for research in aortic aneurysms, lymphodema, osteoarthritis and normal ageing.
Using data captured from the different imaging techniques, he aims to develop biomarkers for both diagnosis (indicating how aggressive a tumour is, for example) and the monitoring of treatment response.
He is developing contrast agents for use in MRI, and uses blood oxygenation and blood flow modifiers to enable investigation of the size, structure and vascular function of tumours (tumours need new blood supply to support their growth).
Professor Howe is also is investigating ultrasound methods combined with nanobubble technology to temporarily disrupt the blood brain barrier, which otherwise impedes drug delivery and contrast agents that might aid treatment and diagnosis of brain disease.
Prof Howe also works on MRI techniques that can enable diagnosis and treatment in other conditions, including cerebrovascular disease, lupus, lymphodema, osteoarthritis and normal ageing.
Professor Howe joined St George's in 1988, as a member of the Cancer Research UK Biomedical Magnetic Resonance (MR) Research Group, developing MR imaging and spectroscopy techniques to monitor treatment response in pre-clinical cancer studies. Since 1993 he has contributed to a wide range of clinical research studies using MRI and developed his own research focus on brain tumours using 1H MRS to aid delineation and diagnosis. In 2007 he was appointed Senior Lecturer and joined the Stroke and Dementia Research Centre.
Professor Howe was involved in the development of MR neurography at St George's in 1992, a non-invasive method used to obtain detailed images of nerves that can be used to help diagnose nerve-related disorders.
His first degree was in Physics (BA [Oxon]) and he obtained a DPhil on 'Magnetisation and microwave absorption in rare earth metal alloys' from the University of Oxford in 1984. He undertook postdoctoral research evaluating MRI contrast agents at St Bartholomew's Hospital and in MR image analysis at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School (now part of Imperial College School of Medicine ) before moving to St George's.
Yang G, Jones TL, Barrick TR, Howe FA. Discrimination between glioblastoma multiforme and solitary metastasis using morphological features derived from the p:q tensor decomposition of diffusion tensor imaging. NMR Biomed. 2014 Sep;27(9):1103-11.
Raschke F, Jones TL, Barrick TR, Howe FA. Delineation of gliomas using radial metabolite indexing. NMR Biomed. 2014 Sep;27(9):1053-62
Raschke F, Fellows GA, Wright AJ, Howe FA.1 H 2D MRSI tissue type analysis of gliomas. Magn Reson Med. 2014 Jun 3. doi: 10.1002/mrm.25251. [Epub ahead of print]
NG Spencer, LR Bridges, K Elderfield, K Amir, B Austen, FA Howe. Quantitative evaluation of MRI and histological characteristics of the 5xFAD Alzheimer mouse brain. Neuroimage, 2013, 76:108-15.
F Raschke, NP Davies, M Wilson, AC Peet, FA Howe. Classification of single-voxel 1H spectra of childhood cerebellar tumors using LCmodel and whole tissue representations. Magn Reson Med, 2013, 70(1): 1-6.
G Pirianov, E Torsney, F Howe, GW Cockerill. Rosiglitazone negatively regulates c-Jun N-terminal kinase and toll-like receptor 4 proinflammatory signalling during initiation of experimental aortic aneurysms. Atherosclerosis, 2012, 225:56-75.
DJ McIntyre, FA Howe, C Ladroue, F Lofts, M Stubbs, JR Griffiths. Can localised 19F magnetic resonance spectroscopy pharmacokinetics of 5FU in colorectal metastases predict clinical response? Cancer Chemother Pharmacol, 2011, 68:29-36.
Wright AJ, Fellows GA, Griffiths JR, Anthony Bell BA, Howe FA. Ex vivo HRMAS of Adult Brain Tumours: Metabolite Quantification and Assignment of Tumour Biomarkers. BMC J Mol Canc, 2010, 9:66
R Topakian, TR Barrick, FA Howe, HS Markus. Blood-brain barrier permeability is increased in normal appearing white matter in patients with lacunar stroke and leukoaraiosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 2010, 81:192-7.
KS Opstad, BA Bell, JR Griffiths, FA Howe. An investigation of human brain tumour lipids by HRMAS 1H MRS and histological analysis. NMR in Biomed, 2008, 21:677-85.
FA Howe, SJ Barton, SA Cudlip, M Stubbs, DE Saunders, M Murphy, P Wilkins, KS Opstad, VL Doyle, MA McLean, BA Bell, JR Griffiths. Metabolic profiles of human brain tumors using quantitative in vivo 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Magn Reson Med, 2003, 49:223-32.
FA Howe, AG Filler, BA Bell & JR Griffiths. Magnetic resonance neurography. Magn Reson Med, 1992, 28:328-338.
Research fellow Dr Guang Yang is developing pattern recognition analysis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data captured from patients with low grade glioma that can be used to characterise tumour growth and development.
PhD student Felix Raschke is undertaking research entitled 'Tissue type analysis of brain tumours using multimodal MRI'.
Professor Howe is involved with a multi centre Cancer Research UK-funded project that aims to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) methods to improve the diagnosis of brain tumours in children. The study is led by Dr Andrew Peet at the University of Birmingham.
He is collaborating with Dr Eleanor Stride at the University of Oxford on a project developing nanobubble technology. This can temporarily disrupt the blood brain barrier to aid delivery of MRI contrast agents that can help detect the protein amyloid, implicated in the development of dementia.
Dr Tom Barrick, a colleague in the Stroke and Dementia Research Centre, investigating how diffusion MRI measurements of white matter structure can be combined with MRS to improve diagnosis in cerebrovascular diseases and cancer;
Dr Gillian Cockerill at the Institute of Cardiovascular and Cell Sciences, investigating the use of MRI to monitor aneurysm growth and treatment response;
Dr Wai Liu in the Institute of Infection and Immunity, developing the use of MRI to monitor the response of brain tumours to novel treatments;
Dr Soo Hyun-Kim in the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre, studying tumour growth patterns in relation to genetic characteristics;
Dr Nidhi Sofat in the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre, developing functional MRI and MRS to investigate pain perception in osteoarthritis;
Professor Brian Austen in the Biomedical Sciences Research Centre, developing improved methods of imaging for early detection of amyloid deposits in the brain in dementia.
MRI biomarkers of low grade glioma growth and infiltration
Awarded to FA Howe, TR Barrick, T Jones and BA Bell
Cancer Research UK
June 2012 to May 2015, £273,000.
Brain penetration of an MRI contrast reagent that binds beta-amyloid
Awarded to BM Austen, FA Howe, E Stride, M Edirishinghe
US Alzheimer's Association
2009 to 2012, $399,000
MRI biomarkers of tumour response to anti-vascular therapy.
Awarded to FA Howe, M Papadopoulos, SP Robinson, BA Bell
Association of International Cancer Research
April 2009 to April 2012, £213,835
Development and evaluation of MR based functional imaging for the enhanced management of childhood cancer – a Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) initiative.
Awarded to AC Peet, T Arvanitis, CA Clark, R Grundy, FA Howe, MO Leach
Cancer Research UK/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
2008 to 2013, £2.2 million.
Cognitive decline in cerebral small vessel disease: a prospective imaging study.
Awarded to HS Markus, TR Barrick, FA Howe and RG Morris
The Wellcome Trust
2007 to 2012, £447,000
Professor Howe is co-organiser of the Clinical Neuroscience module offered to medical students who opt to undertake an intercalated BSc course.
He lectures undergraduates about the clinical applications of magnetic resonance imaging, contributing to Anatomy, Biology of Cancer and Clinical Neuroscience modules for MBBS and BSc courses.
He supervises lab-based MRes and BSc student research projects and a library-based Special Study Course on Biomedical Applications of Magnetic Resonance.