Faculty of Science and Technology
Biomedical Photonic Imaging
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
Telephone: +31 53 489 1080
Fully integrated real time multi-wavelength photoacoustics for early disease detection (FULLPHASE)
In an age of ever rising healthcare costs and an increasingly aging population, low cost medical imaging methods have become of key importance. Ultrasound (US) is interesting in this regard as it is an affordable imaging modality with good resolution and is also real-time and safe of use. Ultrasound’s main disadvantage is its relative incapability of imaging tissue function such as is possible with contrast enhanced MRI or X-ray (radiography, CT).
Photo-acoustic imaging (PAI) uses low-energy laser pulses that generate ultrasound at the point of absorption. Because light absorption is highly dependent on wavelength and type of tissue chromophore, PAI is an excellent functional imaging modality that can efficiently be combined with US due to their similar acoustic detection needs. A combined PAI and US system would have the advantage of remaining low-cost, safe and capable of both structural and functional imaging. The goal of the project is to develop such a product in a European consortium, with the intended clinical applications of oncology, rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis.
One of the requirements is to keep the system portable. To do so, a small diode laser will be used instead of a big solid state laser. Because a diode laser emits much less light than its solid state counterpart and subsequently generates less ultrasound, one of the main challenges will be the optimisation of light delivery and ultrasound detection and processing.
FULLPHASE being a European project with many collaborating partners (www.fullphase-fp7.eu) , my role is on one hand to develop realistic phantoms representing the pathologies related to the clinical applications. On the other hand will be testing FULLPHASE prototypes on those phantoms before the move to clinical trials can be made. In addition to this I will be optimising existing methods for (relative) concentration determination of chromophores for use in this US-PA imaging combination.