Navigation Links
Light and sound -- the way forward for better medical imaging

Detection and treatment of tumours, diseased blood vessels and other soft-tissue conditions could be significantly improved, thanks to an innovative imaging system being developed that uses both light and sound.

The system uses extremely short pulses of low-energy laser light to stimulate the emission of ultrasonic acoustic waves from the tissue area being examined. These waves are then converted into high-resolution 3D images of tissue structure.

This method can be used to reveal disease in types of tissue that are more difficult to image using techniques based on x-rays or conventional ultrasound. For example, the new system is better at imaging small blood vessels, which may not be picked up at all using ultrasound. This is important in the detection of tumours, which are characterised by an increased density of blood vessels growing into the tissue.

The technique, which is completely safe, will help doctors diagnose, monitor and treat a wide range of soft-tissue conditions more effectively.

The first of its kind in the world, the prototype system has been developed by medical physics and bioengineering experts at University College London, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It is soon to undergo trials in clinical applications, with routine deployment in the healthcare sector envisaged within around 5 years.

The emission of an acoustic wave when matter absorbs light is known as the photoacoustic effect. Harnessing this basic principle, the new system makes use of the variations in the sound waves that are produced by different types of soft human tissue to identify and map features that other imaging methods cannot distinguish so well.

By appropriate selection of the wavelength of the laser pulses, the light can be controlled to penetrate up to depths of several centimetres. The technique therefore has important potential for the better imaging of conditions that go deep into human tissue, such as breast tumours, and for contributing to the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease.

The prototype instrument, however, has been specifically designed to image very small blood vessels (with diameters measured in tens or hundreds of microns) that are relatively close to the surface. Information generated about the distribution and density of these microvessels can in turn provide valuable data about skin tumours, vascular lesions, burns, other soft tissue damage, and even how well an area of tissue has responded to plastic surgery following an operation.

The development process has included theoretical and experimental investigations of photoacoustic interactions with soft tissue, development of appropriate computer image-reconstruction algorithms, and construction of a prototype imaging instrument incorporating the new technique.

This new system offers the prospect of safe, non-invasive medical imaging of unprecedented quality, says Dr Paul Beard who leads UCLs Photoacoustic Imaging Group. It also has the potential to be an extremely versatile, relatively inexpensive and even portable imaging option.


Contact: Natasha Richardson
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Related medicine news :

1. Stanford study highlights cost-effective method of lowering heart disease risks
2. Study shines more light on benefit of vitamin D in fighting cancer
3. Bacteria See the Light
4. Quantum light beams good for fast technology
5. Free will takes flight: how our brains respond to an approaching menace
6. New MRI finding sheds light on multiple sclerosis disease progressio
7. RA Drugs Linked to Slight Skin Cancer Risk
8. QUANTEL Intends to Strengthen its Dermatology/ Aesthetics Division With the Acquisition of WaveLight Aesthetic GmbH
9. REACH Registry Highlights That Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Suffer High Rates of Heart Attack, Stroke, Hospitalization, and Death
10. As Sunlight Fades, Look Out for SAD
11. Accident Fund Will Make Board of Water & Lights Ottawa Street Station Power Plant in Lansing Its New National Headquarters
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an ... changing the way that they are handling security in light of the recent terrorist ... presence in an attempt to stop an attack from reaching U.S. soil. Especially around ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team ... ways to treat it. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the ... University Hospital Zurich analyzed the cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... filthy the toilets were," said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch ... seat cover so that individuals will always be protected from germs." , He ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 27, 2015 , ... The print component of “Supporting Our ... Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, South Florida, with a circulation of approximately 250,000 copies ... a vast social media strategy and across a network of top news sites ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of its ... 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population - ... estimates of HSV-1 infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle Li, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... PUNE, India , November ... --> ... / personal emergency response system ... grow steadily for 5 years ... growing region expected to see ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Netherlands , November 26, 2015 ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy ... A new combination approach blends immunotherapy with Bremachlorin-photodynamic therapy ... Netherlands has found that immunotherapy can be ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has announced the addition ... 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders and Growing Awareness among ... offering. Boston scientific and ... and others. --> The market is dominated ... scientific and others. Asia ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: