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08 Sep

Transurethral shear wave method for prostate cancer diagnosis

Current Projects

Prostate Cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer in men in the UK. It is also the second cause of cancer death in men after lung cancer. It represents around 13% of all cases of cancer and accounts for 7% of all UK cancer deaths. About 1 in 8 men will get PCa at some point in their lives. The incidence of PCa increases with age, affecting mainly men over 50 years of age. The increase in longevity and awareness of the disease will lead to more men requesting screening, which will in turn increase the number of patients diagnosed with PCa in the future. There is a need for improvements in diagnosis since (a) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides good results but its high cost holds back its wider use and (b) conventional Ultrasound does not ‘see’ the tumour and is limited to guiding biopsy. Furthermore, some of the most exciting new therapies for PCa would greatly benefit from a real-time monitoring system that can show the clinician how the treatment has progressed. A new low cost option with high specificity, which is also portable and easy to use will have a major impact on the early diagnosis of this disease, particularly in the developing world. It will also enable focal therapies, to be truly focal rather than having to destroy a large proportion of the healthy prostate gland

Aims and Objectives:
We propose the use of shear waves transmitted and detected transurethrally as a diagnosis and ablation monitoring method for PCa. Shear wave elastography techniques are very promising for real-time imaging as cancer nodules are usually stiffer than adjacent normal prostatic tissue. This forms the basic principle behind our cheaper alternative to MRI for PCa diagnosis. For treatment monitoring, the stiffness of threated soft tissue undergoes a dramatic increase during thermal lesion formation, which provides the basis for using elastography to monitor the progress during treatment. The aim of this project is to develop fast and accurate image reconstruction methods based on two approaches, Reverse-Time Migration and a genetic algorithm approach. An analytical study of the frictional contact mechanics between the tissue and the probe will be conducted to optimise the transmission of mechanical energy into prostatic tissue. The reconstruction algorithm will need to be validated in both in-silico and in-vitro experiments.