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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N014855/1
Title: Super Resolution Ultrasound Imaging
Principal Investigator: Eckersley, Dr RJ
Other Investigators:
Cosgrove, Professor D Aljabar, Dr P
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Bracco Suisse SA Philips Healthcare USA University of Florence
University of Oxford
Department: Imaging & Biomedical Engineering
Organisation: Kings College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 29 February 2016 Ends: 30 September 2019 Value (£): 362,189
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
EP/N015487/1 EP/N015320/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Nov 2015 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 25th and 26th November 2015 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Context

Many micro-vascular related diseases, such as those associated with diabetes, ischemia and cancer, exhibit changes in the micro-vascular structure and blood-flow. The measurement of micro-vascular morphology and changes in blood flow dynamics is therefore essential for early diagnosis and monitoring. Current clinical imaging modalities cannot adequately resolve the microvasculature or flow dynamics at clinically useful depths. The proposed work would generate three-dimensional (3D) super-resolved ultrasound vascular imaging and velocity mapping at clinical depths in vivo.

We have successfully demonstrated that single microbubble localisation can produce acoustic super-resolution and super-resolved flow velocity images in vivo from standard image data acquired by an unmodified clinical ultrasound system using simple post-processing localisation algorithms. We achieved visualisation and velocity measurements of vessel structures below 20 micro-metres in vivo. Our present work is limited by the underlying two dimensional acquisition strategy; this means that there is no super-resolution information in the third dimension. We propose to overcome this by incorporating recent advances in US imaging technology in order to push beyond the established resolution limits of ultrasound imaging to translate this approach into a clinically useful imaging modality.

Aims and Objectives

Our objective is to develop 3D ultrasound super-resolution imaging of the microvasculature at depths of up to 10 cm with acquisition times that are clinically useful. We aim to be the first group in the world to demonstrate this in humans. To facilitate this transition, we will develop and implement fast 3D super-resolution acquisition strategies and protocols using a combination of compounding strategies with currently available US technology and ultrafast volumetric imaging using dedicated ultrasound matrix array technology. We aim to develop optimised and automated processing algorithms which will enable more precise and efficient image acquisition. Throughout our project, we will demonstrate 3D super resolution imaging and super-resolved velocity mapping using in vitro phantoms and in vivo models, and finally provide 3D super-resolved vasculature images in human studies.

Potential Applications and benefits

The proposed work is essential for clinical translation of super-resolution ultrasound imaging. The new 3D super-resolution imaging method could underlie next generation techniques for ultrasound measurement of the structure and function of the microvasculature. A non-invasive, safe, microscopic assessment of the vasculature could prove crucial to diagnosis, prediction, and intervention in a wide range of diseases.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Summary
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