January 8, 2008 - A high-energy form of ultrasound imaging developed by researchers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering produces pictures of liver tumors that are better than those made with traditional ultrasound, may offer a new tool for screening patients at increased risk for liver cancers according to results of a clinical study.
The study suggests that the imaging method known as Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse (ARFI) ultrasound may also play a useful role in guiding biopsy procedures and minimally invasive therapies aimed at destroying cancerous tissues found deep in the abdomen.
ARFI uses high-energy sound waves to push on tissues like sonic fingers. A tracking beam then captures the movement of the tissue, providing a measure of its elasticity or stiffness. The preliminary findings have led Siemens to pursue a product prototype that will combine traditional ultrasound with ARFI.
In the study, the researchers captured ARFI images of 12 tumors in nine patients, including seven liver and two kidney tumors, and compared them to traditional ultrasound. The ARFI pictures showed greater contrast than standard ultrasound, providing clearer definition of the edges of cancerous masses.
The study, reported on Jan, 7 in the journal Physics in Medicine and Biology, was funded by the National Institutes of Health with system support from Siemens Medical Solutions.
For more information: www.pratt.duke.edu