Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sharpened focus: Improving the numbers, utility of medical imaging

Date:
May 5, 2011
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
The idea of probing the body's interior with radiation stretches back to experiments with X rays in the 1800s, but more than a century later, images taken with radiological scans still are not considered reliable enough to serve as the sole indicator of the efficacy of a cancer treatment. Researchers have now set out to change that.

The idea of probing the body's interior with radiation stretches back to experiments with X rays in the 1800s, but more than a century later, images taken with radiological scans still are not considered reliable enough to, for example, serve as the sole indicator of the efficacy of a cancer treatment. Lisa Karam, a biochemist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and a few dozen of her colleagues across North America have set out to change that.

The group of radiology specialists from a number of institutions has recently published a pair of papers that Karam describes as part of a major effort to turn medical imaging -- CT scans, PET scans, MRIs, X rays and the like -- into a quantitative research tool, one that produces reliable numbers. Karam says her hope is that the group's efforts will enable scientists to determine whether a new drug or treatment method is working within weeks rather than months or years, thereby cutting down on the time it takes to get an effective new therapy approved for patients.

"Let's say doctors are studying an experimental drug that might destroy lung tumors," says Karam, "CT scans might show that patients' lung tumors shrink after a few weeks on the drug, but regulators would not accept this as evidence that the drug works because legitimate concerns exist about other variables that might be responsible for the apparent change in the image. What we want to do is get control over enough of those variables so that these concerns will fall away."

The many coauthors of the two papers are members of a subgroup of the Radiological Society of North America called the Quantitative Imaging Biomarker Alliance (QIBA). NIST's primary role, Karam says, is in helping to get control of anything involved in the imaging process that has to do with measurable physical values, from the radiation beams to the properties of the tissues being imaged.

In the example of lung tumors, Karam says, one problem is that lung tissue has a spongy quality and moves during the scan as a patient breathes. "If a patient moves a couple of millimeters during a scan, it can affect your measurement of a 10-mm tumor," she says. "So we are creating a plastic 'benchmark' that can be used to quantify this movement and account for it in the image analysis. We also are creating objects of defined density to calibrate scanners, so you can be sure of what you are measuring even if the surrounding tissue's density varies."

The first of the two papers discusses how the radiology community can best come together to make quantitative imaging the norm in medicine; the second, how to overcome longstanding issues that have discouraged the health care community from supporting the idea. Karam says more papers from QIBA are in the works: a near-term goal is to offer a method of handling data so that it can be useful in evaluating treatment methods.

"We're trying to develop a milieu for medical imaging," Karam says. "We want to show the world that a medical image can be a useful tool for medical decision making. It can give you hard numbers you can take to your insurance company and use as justification to get treatment."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. A. J. Buckler, L. Bresolin, N. R. Dunnick, D. C. Sullivan. Quantitative Imaging Test Approval and Biomarker Qualification: Interrelated but Distinct Activities. Radiology, 2011; DOI: 10.1148/radiol.10100800
  2. A. J. Buckler, L. Bresolin, N. R. Dunnick, D. C. Sullivan. A Collaborative Enterprise for Multi-Stakeholder Participation in the Advancement of Quantitative Imaging. Radiology, 2011; 258 (3): 906 DOI: 10.1148/radiol.10100799

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Sharpened focus: Improving the numbers, utility of medical imaging." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414131652.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2011, May 5). Sharpened focus: Improving the numbers, utility of medical imaging. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414131652.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Sharpened focus: Improving the numbers, utility of medical imaging." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110414131652.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

AP (July 30, 2014) 3-D printing is a cool technology, but it's not exactly a hands-on way to make things. Enter the 3Doodler: the pen that turns you into the 3-D printer. AP technology writer Peter Svensson takes a closer look. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins