Vasilis Marmarelis, a professor of biomedical engineering at the Viterbi School, presented HUTT images of animal organ tissue in San Diego at the 28th International Acoustical Imaging Symposium, held March 20-23.
According to Marmarelis, HUTT offers nearly order-of-magnitude improvement in resolution of structures in soft tissue (i.e., 0.4 mm, compared to 2 mm for the best alternatives). Several other features promise to make the technology a scientific and clinical tool of great power:
*Robust algorithmic tools enable HUTT to differentiate separate types of tissue based on their distinctive "frequency-dependent attenuation" profiles, that should allow clinicians to distinguish malignant lesions from benign growths in a non-invasive and highly reliable manner.
*In addition to improved resolution, the system can locate tissue features with extreme precision in a objective, fixed-coordinate 3D grid, crucial for guiding surgical procedures.
*Scans can be performed in a matter of a few minutes and because they are ultrasonic, they do not use potentially harmful ionizing radiation.
*The system requires a minimum of special pre-scan procedures and appears likely, in clinical use, to be more comfortable for patients than alternatives.
"The HUTT imaging system is a novel and potentially very useful approach to diagnostic ultrasound," said Dr. Phillip W. Ralls, a professor and vice chair in the USC Keck School of Medicine department of radiology. "The potential clinical benefits of the superb images obtained by this completely safe, non-invasive technique are very exciting."