How's the first day at USCT

High-resolution ultrasonic transmission tomography

Applicant Professor Dr. Jürgen Hesser
Heidelberg University
Medical Faculty Mannheim
Institute for Intelligent Systems in Medicine (MIISM)
Data Analysis & Modeling in Medicine
Dr. Torsten Hopp
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Process Data Processing and Electronics
Subject area medical physics, biomedical engineering
Funding Funding from 2015 to 2020
German Research Foundation (DFG) - Project number 283966455
The aim of the project is to develop a new method for early breast cancer detection: high-resolution three-dimensional ultrasound transmission tomography, which can provide essential new insights into breast cancer diagnosis by mapping quantitative tissue parameters. The currently used standard image reconstruction for transmission tomography uses a beam-based algebraic reconstruction method and is therefore severely limited in terms of resolution. This limits the area of ​​application considerably, as e.g. small tumors cannot be detected. In this project we overcome the limited resolution with a new iterative image reconstruction method in which a more precise forward solution using the paraxial approximation is used. The significantly higher computational effort is managed by sophisticated optimization strategies. The aim of the project is to improve the resolution of transmission tomography by an order of magnitude while the number of iterations to solve the poorly posed inverse problem is to be reduced by an order of magnitude compared to the current solution. The reduction in iterations together with the efficient implementation of the algorithms on parallel infrastructures such as a multi-GPU system enables the reconstruction of high-resolution 3D volumes in clinically relevant time for diagnosis on the same day. The development is essential for ultrasound-based procedures in medicine. The developed method is applied in this project to the promising new imaging method "3D ultrasound computer tomography" (3D-USCT) for breast cancer diagnosis. In preliminary work, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed, set up and evaluated the world's first 3D USCT system which, with the previous reconstruction method, achieves a transmission tomography resolution of max. 12 mm. With the establishment of the method developed here and improvement of the resolution by an order of magnitude, 3D-USCT can potentially detect tumors that are less than 5mm in size and thus drastically increase the chances of survival of those affected. The combination of expertise in the field of ultrasound (KIT) and poorly posed inverse problems (University of Heidelberg) provide optimal conditions for carrying out this research project. The developed method is evaluated by simulation, phantom recordings and first in-vivo data. We are thus laying the foundation for subsequent clinical studies to evaluate sensitivity and specificity. The establishment of high-resolution transmission tomography would enable the use of 3D-USCT as an economical, advantageous imaging method for clarifying unclear diagnoses. After a corresponding analysis, it is also conceivable to use 3D-USCT as a screening method for breast cancer detection in the future.
DFG procedureSach grants