A novel nano-tomography method developed by a team of researchers from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen, the Paul Scherrer Institute and the ETH-Zurich opens the door to computed tomography examinations of minute structures at nanometer resolutions. Three-dimensional detailed imaging of fragile bone structures becomes possible. Their first nano-CT images will be published in Nature on Sept. 23, 2010. This new technique will facilitate advances in both life sciences and materials sciences.
Osteoporosis, a medical condition in which bones become brittle and fragile from a loss of density, is among the most common diseases in aging bones: In Germany around a quarter of the population aged over 50 is affected. Patients' bone material shrinks rapidly, leading to a significantly increased risk of fracture. In clinical research to date, osteoporosis is diagnosed almost exclusively by establishing an overall reduction in bone density. This approach, however, gives little information about the associated, and equally important, local structure and bone density changes. Franz Pfeiffer, professor for Biomedical Physics at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and head of the research team, has resolved the dilemma: "With our newly developed nano-CT method it is now possible to visualize the bone structure and density changes at high resolutions and in 3D. This enables us to do research on structural changes related to osteoporosis on a nanoscale and thus develop better therapeutic approaches."
During development, Pfeiffer's team built on X-ray computed tomography (CT). The principle is well established CT scanners are used every day in hospitals and medical practices for the diagnostic screening of the human body. In the process the human body is X-rayed while a detector records from different angles how much radiation is being absorbed. In principle it is nothing more than taking multiple X-ray pictures from various directions. A nu
|Contact: Dr. Andreas Battenberg|
Technische Universitaet Muenchen