News | SPECT Imaging | November 08, 2019

New X-ray Technology Could Revolutionize How Doctors Identify Abnormalities

Image by Dr. Manuel González Reyes from Pixabay

Image by Dr. Manuel González Reyes from Pixabay 

November 8, 2019 — Using ground-breaking technology, researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and University of Baltimore (UMB) are testing a new method of X-ray imaging that uses color to identify microfractures in bones. Microfractures were previously impossible to see using standard X-ray imaging. The findings associated with this advancement in color (spectral) CT (computed tomography) imaging are published in Advanced Functional Materials.

Since the discovery of X-rays in 1895, the basics of the technology have remained consistent. Doctors and scientists use them to see dense materials, like bones, but the technology's capabilities have been limited. Dipanjan Pan, Ph.D., professor of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering UMBC, and professor of radiology at UMB, is the corresponding author of this new study. Looking ahead to the next generation of X-ray technology, he asked, "How can we detect a bone microcrack, something that is not visible using X-ray imaging?"

Pan explains that to examine this question, his lab developed nanoparticles that navigate and attach specifically to areas where microcracks exist. He likes to call them "GPS particles." They started conducting this research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The researchers have programmed the particles to latch onto the correct area of the microcrack. Once the particles attach to microcracks, they remain there, which is crucial to the imaging process.

The particles contain the element hafnium. A new X-ray-based technique developed by a New Zealand-based company MARS then take CT images of the body and the hafnium particles appear in color. This provides a very clear image of where the bone microcracks are located.

Hafnium is used because its composition makes it detectable to X-rays, generating a signal that can then be used to image the cracks. Pan's lab showed that hafnium is stable enough to be used in testing involving living creatures, and can be excreted safely from the body. The lab has not yet begun testing on humans, but the technology to do so may be available as soon as 2020.

As for other applications for spectral CT imaging with this hafnium breakthrough, the research suggests that this methodology could be used to detect much more serious problems. For example, in order to determine whether a person has a blockage in their heart, doctors often will perform a stress test to detect abnormalities, which comes with a significant amount of risk. One day in the near future, doctors may be able to use spectral CT to determine whether there is a blockage in organs.

"Regular CT does not have a soft-tissue contrast. It cannot tell you where your blood vessels are. Spectral CT can help solve that problem," Pan explained. He notes that although more research is needed to begin using spectral CT in this way, he anticipates that it will be a "tremendous" new tool for radiologists. Fatemeh Ostadhossein, Ph.D., a recent graduate of the Pan lab, was first author on this study.

Related Content

According to ARRS’ American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR), the resources required to warm iohexol 350 to body temperature before injection for computed tomography (CT) may not be warranted, given the lack of observed practical benefit.

Values represent number of patients, with percentage in parentheses and 95% CI in brackets (not reported for levels of severity of allergic/allergic-like reactions). 95% CIs were calculated using the Clopper-Pearson exact formula. For events with zero frequency, one-sided 97.5% CIs are provided.

News | Contrast Media | July 30, 2021
Images, or a digital twin mitral valve of a patient, created from cardiac ultrasound that were used to perform a virtual surgical procedure to test how the intervention would impact the patient prior to actually performing the procedure. The right image shows color coding for sheer stresses on the valve leaflets before and after the virtual surgery. The left image shows the model quantitation of leaflet coaptation at peak systole prior to the the virtual surgery.

Images, or a digital twin mitral valve of a patient, created from cardiac ultrasound that were used to perform a virtual surgical procedure to test how the intervention would impact the patient prior to actually performing the procedure. The right image shows color coding for sheer stresses on the valve leaflets before and after the virtual surgery. The left image shows the model quantitation of leaflet coaptation at peak systole prior to the the virtual surgery. Read the original article in Plos One.

Feature | Ultrasound Imaging | July 28, 2021
Outside of medicine, computer-generated virtual twins of real machines like cars or airplanes have been used in engin
The FLASH Effect significantly improves the therapeutic ratio for curing cancer

The FLASH Effect significantly improves the therapeutic ratio for curing cancer

News | Radiation Oncology | July 28, 2021
July 28, 2021 — IntraOp Medical Corporation announced that ...
64-Year-Old Man With Clear Cell Likelihood Score (ccLS) 5 Renal Masses

64-Year-Old Man With Clear Cell Likelihood Score (ccLS) 5 Renal Masses. Coronal T2-weighted single shot fast spin echo and coronal T1-weighted fat-saturated spoiled gradient echo acquired during corticomedullary phase—ccLS5 lesion outlined red for clarity.

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | July 22, 2021
An example of Viz.AI's pulmonary embolism AI application and mobile alert to the physician on-call. Viz.AI and Avicenna.AI Partner to Launch Artificial Intelligence Care Coordination for Pulmonary Embolism and Aortic Disease

An example of Viz.AI's pulmonary embolism AI application and mobile alert to the physician on-call. 

News | July 21, 2021
July 21, 2021 — Artificial int...
Registration is now open for the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 107th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, the world’s largest annual radiology forum, to be held at McCormick Place Chicago, Nov. 28 – Dec. 2, 2021

Getty Images

News | RSNA | July 21, 2021
July 21, 2021 — Registration is now open for the Radiological Society of North America (...
An example of HeartFlow's FFR-CT analysis of blockage severity in a patient's coronary vessels based on a cardiac CT scan.

An example of HeartFlow's FFR-CT analysis of blockage severity in a patient's coronary vessels based on a cardiac CT scan.

News | Cardiac Imaging | July 15, 2021
July 15, 2021 — HeartFlow, which has commercialized noninvasive...