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Imaging tools help radiologists diagnose lung cancer, save lives
Date:6/12/2014

"Modern CT imaging devices produce hundreds and sometimes thousands of images," Fetzer said. "If a patient is being followed for an abnormality, such as a lung nodule, a radiologist must compare these images visually, mentally compensating for differences such as patient position. Slight changes in technique between two CT scans may simulate tumor growth, for instance."

Radiologists compute the doubling time of a nodule, or the range of time it takes for the size of the nodule to increase twofold. A mass that doubles in less than 30 days is growing fast and could be an infection, Cahill said. "If it takes more than one and a half years to double, it's growing slowly and is probably benign. If it's anywhere between thatone month and 1.5 yearsthen, it could be malignant and you have to do further testing and do biopsy."

Cahill and Kfir Ben Zikri, a Ph.D. student in the Center for Imaging Science, are registering, or aligning, backgrounds to create a common frame of reference between sets of images. The process geometrically transforms one three-dimensional image into another and compensates for background information that blurs edges of nodules, even when underlying diseases like emphysema or fibrosis make intensities in the background brighter.

"Then we can estimate the volumes, which will allow us to more accurately estimate the doubling time and have a better chance to determine if it's a malignant growth or benign," Cahill said.

The technology will be part of the free software libraries offered by Kitware, a North Carolina-based, open-source software company that specializes in medical image analyses. Cahill and Ben Zikri work closely with scientists at Kitware and professor Marc Niethammer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Fetzer is selecting 30 CT scans of patients treated for lung cancer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The images are scrubbed of patient-identifying information
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Contact: Susan Gawlowicz
smguns@rit.edu
585-475-5061
Rochester Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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