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New x-ray technique images cartilage, may lead to earlier diagnosis of osteoarthritis

at both institutions predicts that pharmaceutical companies developing drugs to treat osteoarthritis may be interested in using DEI. Now, companies induce osteoarthritis in animals either chemically or mechanically before treating them with experimental drugs. To see if the drugs work, the animals cartilage is observed post-mortem. Now that cartilage can be imaged using DEI, pharmaceutical companies may eventually be able test the efficacy of their drugs throughout the course of the disease process.

The Rush scientists were eager to work with Chapman on imaging cartilage using DEI after seeing DEI images for mammography taken in 1997. The images were of a standard test object used to grade the sensitivity of mammography machines. The object contains tumor-like tissue as well as artificial fibrils found in certain breast cancers. When compared to conventional images of the test object, the DEI images showed almost every single feature in the test object, including the tape that held it in place, while the conventional x-ray image showed only the largest features. The results of the research were published in the March 2000 issue of Radiology. Chapman estimates that DEI images have about 27 times greater contrast than regular x-ray images.

Because of the high resolution DEI gives, it can also actually show where the cartilage is breaking down, giving us a picture of how the disease progresses in a patient, something we havent been able to see with x-rays before, Kuettner says.

DEI also has applications in national security. In January, 2002, Chapman used DEI to image a conventional cafeteria knife, which showed up much more clearly than if the knife were imaged using the standard equipment used to scan baggage at airports. It is just one of the ways engineers and scientists at IIT are turning the focus and expertise towards fighting terrorism post September 11.


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Contact: Sharon Parmet
parmet@iit.edu
312-567-7997
Illinois Institute of Technology
17-Mar-2002


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