Project

Real-Time Tomosynthesis and Stationary X-Ray Source

SRI is developing technologies that could significantly improve tomographic medical imaging for cancer treatment and research.

figure showing details of SRI's stationary x-ray source
Details of SRI's stationary x-ray source

Physiological characteristics of malignant tumors, such as blood flow and vascular permeability, offer clues to more effective cancer treatments. Vascular dynamic information provided by computed tomography (CT) is important for monitoring tumor and vessel growth and for assessing responses to chemotherapeutic agents. In two projects for the National Cancer Institute, SRI is developing technologies that could significantly improve tomographic medical imaging.

SRI designed and fabricated a real-time tomosynthesis (TS) system to image vascular dynamics. This system integrates SRI's novel stationary X-ray source array technology with an existing flat-panel detector to offer the possibility of better time resolution than existing systems, yet at a small fraction of their cost. The TS system will be suitable for studies in human breasts and in small animals such as mice and rats, which are widely used for models of human diseases such as cancer.

This technology could significantly impact many aspects of medical imaging. SRI’s X-ray source can increase imaging speed and eliminate mechanical motion that causes image blurring, while reducing system size and complexity. The small size of the X-ray sources means that the source elements can be placed at any point in space to improve angular coverage.

SRI is evaluating the system using phantoms and state-of-the-art image assessment techniques. The resulting datasets will be used to guide the further engineering development of stationary X-ray source technology and a real-time TS system.

This technology could lead to the development of compact, affordable CT and digital TS systems for use in hospitals, clinics, rural areas, and laboratories to improve research and medical care.

This publication was made possible by NIH/NCI Grants R21CA133433 and R21CA131640. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the DHHS.