Hope for better early detection of cancer and Alzheimer's disease
A new, award-winning X-ray method provides images with more than a hundred times higher resolution than conventional imaging methods. High-resolution images offer new insights into the development of cancer and Alzheimer's disease and could revolutionize the early detection of these diseases.
The German Society for Pathology (DGP) honors Dr. Maximilian Ackermann received the Rudolf Virchow Prize 2022 for his research work on a new X-ray technique called hierarchical phase contrast tomography (HiP-CT). The method could allow better early detection of cancer and Alzheimer's disease. X-ray technology was recently featured in the well-known journal "Nature Methods".
The brightest X-ray source in the world
The new technology was developed at the European synchrotron source in Grenoble - currently the brightest X-ray source in the world. The images made possible by this procedure have more than a hundred times better resolution than computed tomography (CT) images.
Thanks to the significantly improved resolution, completely new information about the course of the disease will be possible in the future. For example, the three-dimensional extent of a tumor can be imaged. Deep spatial understanding is particularly relevant for subsequent immunotherapy or chemotherapy.
“The procedure offers the possibility of combining the best of both disciplines of pathology and radiology,” explains the winner in a press release about the new technology.
Knowledge should benefit other imaging methods
The international research team led by Ackermann wants to gain new insights from the high-resolution images, which should also improve normal imaging methods. "The HiP-CT is only available in Grenoble and not in all hospitals", specifies the research director.
“We therefore want to use artificial intelligence and deep learning to improve the evaluation of generally available CT and MRI images,” says Ackermann.
Improved early detection of Alzheimer's disease and cancer
"In the HiP-CT images, we can also detect precancerous stages and very early signs of the deposits that trigger Alzheimer's", adds the scientist. If the knowledge thus acquired could be transferred to other imaging methods, this would be a major step in the early detection of the corresponding diseases. (vb)
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Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
Sources:Walsh CL, Tafforeau P, Wagner WL et al. Imaging of intact human organs with local resolution of cellular structures using hierarchical phase contrast tomography. Nat Methods 18, 1532-1541 (2021). nature.comWitten/Herdecke University: New award-winning X-ray technology gives hope for better early detection of cancer and Alzheimer's disease (published July 5, 2022), uni-wh.de
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