The diagnostic imaging modality of computed tomography (CT) scan is very helpful in lung cancer assessment as it spots even small lung tumors that might go undetected in conventional chest X-ray and other tests.
However in general, CT scans could generate as many as 600 images in a single seating – most of which might appear repetitive – and can lead to information overload and difficulty in detecting lesions. Under these circumstances, related productivity tools such as computer-aided detection (CAD) can help physicians locate and analyze images.
CAD procedures benefits greatly from contrast agents, which have always played a critical role in superior image acquisition, especially in modalities such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound. The use of contrast agents, in turn, enables better diagnoses of diseases.
Recently, scientists demonstrated a novel nanometer scale contrast agent for MRI. Iron oxide nanoparticles, which are comparable to the size of a virus, that can help in not only outlining tumors in the brain but also lesions that might have otherwise gone unobserved.
The product has the potential to help in image-guided surgeries and improve diagnosis of lesions caused by multiple sclerosis, stroke, and residual tumors.
Scientists have also pioneered the use of metallofullerenes called Trimetaspheres as a contrast agent for MRI. Trimetaspheres molecules can provide MRI images that are at least 25 times better than the ones created by current contrast agents.
“Apart from improving imaging and enabling smaller, less expensive MRI machines, Trimetaspheres can be modified chemically to make them soluble and attach to specific molecules that seek out cancer cells, or other targeted cells,” says Technical Insights Industry Analyst Giridhar Rao.
Such efforts are likely to receive a boost from the recently introduced ultrasound research interface (URI) that can help in developing working alliances between geographically isolated scientists and clinicians.
The URI is meant to share medical data and introduce research protocol. It is also expected to augment ultrasound characterization of specific diseases and improvise ultrasound usage in contrast materials development, signal processing, and tissue characterizations.
“The URI provides a rich source of offline data for signal processing and experimentation and is expected to impact the ultrasound sector significantly,” notes Rao.
Advances in Diagnostic Imaging in North America, part of the Healthcare Vertical Subscription Service, examines emerging technologies or novel applications in existing technologies in six standard modalities of diagnostic imaging, which are CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, PET, ultrasound, and X-ray. The research also identifies technology leaders and provides modality overviews, research trends, and technology drivers and challenges.
Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alert, newsletter, and report services.