A team of scientists at Washington University in St. Louis is developing a new way to look inside the brains of the littlest patients — a technique that will provide precise measurements without requiring children to stay perfectly still or the use of ionizing radiation.
Scientists have combined two existing forms of medical imaging — photoacoustic and ultrasound — to generate high-contrast, high-resolution images that could help doctors spot tumors more quickly.
Washington University biomedical engineer Lihong Wang, PhD, will explain his photoacoustic tomography technology April 3 at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago.
Four applications of the new imaging technique photoacoustic tomography are moving into clinical trials. One is to visualize the sentinel lymph nodes that are important in breast cancer staging; a second to monitor early response to chemotherapy; a third to image melanomas; and the fourth to image the gastrointestinal tract. Biomedical engineer Lihong Wang believes photoacoustic tomography might also allow early diagnosis of cancer because the technique can reveal the hypermetabolism that is cancer’s hallmark.