New computational techniques that can allow medical doctors to visualise and assess micro-vessel blood flow in tumours

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Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore, have developed new computational techniques and algorithms that can allow medical doctors to visualise and assess micro-vessel blood flow in tumours.

As tumours rely on nutrients from blood supply for growth and progression, the developed techniques can potentially be useful as clinical tools to help doctors better diagnose and evaluate tumour response to treatment.

Conventional imaging of cancer using computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) give structural information of the tumour, i.e. shape, size, texture, etc. It is sometimes difficult to appreciate the presence or extent of a tumour, based only on structural information on a CT or MR scan, even to the trained eye. A combined structural-functional approach to the imaging of tumours using CT or MRI is currently a research topic of intense interest worldwide, as it can allow the clinician a more complete analysis of the tumour, and reveal features which are difficult to appreciate on conventional images.

The research team from NTU, led by Assistant Professor Koh Tong San, has combined methods of systems modeling and signal processing to generate high-resolution parametric colour maps, which can be used to elucidate the underlying haemodynamics of tumours, otherwise undetected by conventional imaging.

The NTU team is currently collaborating with researchers from the National Neuroscience Institute to explore the use of the developed techniques in the study of brain tumours.

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