New X-ray source design unlocks cost-effective Digital Tomosynthesis
Adaptix Ltd today announced a major award (under the ‘Biomedical Catalyst’ grants programme by Innovate UK) to support the production of a prototype which will allow portable, low radiation-dose, low-cost 3D imaging in radiology examinations within hospitals, polyclinics and potentially in ambulances.
Many people have Computed Tomography (‘CT’) scans to see a 3D image of their body as part of their diagnostic and treatment pathway. These machines are miracles of engineering, transforming clinical practice. However, many people wait considerable time to have their scan, due in part to the expense of the machines restricting availability, which can lead to delays in medical procedures. In addition, doctors must balance their use with associated significant radiation exposure.
High-cost fixed Digital Tomosynthesis (DT) systems do exist and present excellent 3D images at a fraction of the radiation dose (and far better imaging information than a traditional 2D X-ray); offering a more accessible alternative to CT. But the systems are expensive and so large that they cannot be moved. They emit less than 10% of the radiation of Low-Dose Computed Tomography (LD CT) and 1-2% of the more widely used, full dose diagnostic CT.
The Adaptix Flat Panel Source (FPS) is a highly portable, low-cost tomosynthesis solution without the need of physical movement, resulting in faster image acquisition times and with enhanced resolution in three dimensions. The Adaptix source will enable a low-dose 3D imaging option in a small device, at a lower cost and versatile enough to be deployed on a mobile basis.
“This project builds on previous successful Innovate UK funded initiatives and relates to the pre-manufacturing prototyping of a diagnostic system specifically for general radiology use. This could result in more accurate, and potentially earlier, detection and monitoring of disease by replacing 2D X-ray examinations with 3D Digital Tomosynthesis ('DT') at the same cost,” affirmed Mark Evans, CEO at Adaptix.
DT has been shown to enhance cancer detection in breast imaging and to reduce the need for up to 80% of escalations to CT due to inconclusive results in Chest X-ray. (Dr. Ase Johnsson, PhD et al, University of Gothenburg, 2014).
Some UK sites (e.g. Princess of Wales Hospital) already use DT to reduce CT workload, typically for chest examinations and suspected occult hip fractures. The cost per scan of a DT is much lower than that of a CT ($45 versus $255).
The total number of NHS imaging examinations per year is approximately 42.9 million. Of that 23.1m are X-rays, 5.2m are CT and 2.7m are Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) examinations. (NHS England Analytical Services, 6th August 2014.)
The UK is considering adopting Lung Cancer Screening. If it does so, the requirement for low-dose 3D imaging will be significant, due to the number of follow-up examinations required (up to four scans over two years for patients with a potentially malignant nodule) and for the initial screening of current and former smokers.