Update from the Windy City

Posted on: December 6th, 2013 by admin 1 Comment

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The 99th annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) wrapped up in Chicago today. More than 50,000 radiologists, radiographers, physicists and industry professionals have gathered under the banner of “The Power of Partnership” for the past six days, sharing the latest research, clinical findings and innovative technologies in medical imaging. Whether it was bridging the divide between radiology and interventional oncology or understanding the controversy surrounding radiation dose and cancer risk, there was something for everyone. From CapeRay’s perspective, we were interested to find out what was new in breast cancer detection.

Smart paddle from SigmaScreening
Smart paddle from SigmaScreening
Each year 150 million women will have a mammogram and for many this can be a daunting prospect, particularly since the procedure can be uncomfortable — and even painful — because the breast is compressed between a plastic paddle and the imaging platform. SigmaScreening, a spin-out company from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, has developed a simple but ingenious paddle that is instrumented to measure the pressure (i.e. force per unit area) applied to the breast. The compression can be tailored for each woman based on her breast size — with a target pressure of 75 mmHg (or 10 kPa) — leading to less discomfort, without affecting image quality.

Another technology that caught our eye was automated breast ultrasound (ABUS), where established companies such as GESiemens and SonoCiné demonstrated the benefits of 3D ultrasound. These three ABUS systems require the woman to lie supine, whereas two new companies have her lying prone on her stomach. Delphinus, who anticipate receiving FDA clearance soon, have the breast immersed in warm water, while iVu, who already have both FDA and CE certification, use a standard ultrasound system and probe (e.g. from Philips or Toshiba) and a customized bed.

Customized ABUS bed from iVu
Customized ABUS bed from iVu

Also well represented at RSNA were software companies that have developed tools to characterize breast tissue and and to provide computer-assisted detection (CAD) of breast lesions. Matakina from Wellington in New Zealand have a product called Volpara that analyses digital mammograms to estimate density, an important risk factor for breast cancer. Salient Imaging had a CAD package for hand-held ultrasound, while iCAD and VuCOMP showcased their latest CAD packages that interpret digital mammograms. An exciting newcomer was Quantitative Insights, a University of Chicago spin-out that has developed a CAD workstation which integrates MRI, ultrasound and X-ray images.

Next year, when the RSNA celebrates its centenary meeting, CapeRay plans to exhibit its dual-modality Aceso system.

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One Response

  1. David Dent says:

    It just gets better and better. Some of the innovations are so obvious – were right in front of our nose – yet it takes a magic moment, and grindingly difficult development to realize them. Come on CapeRay!