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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/S71224/01
Title: Quantitative ultrasound imaging of tissues & microbubbles using feedback & model based approaches
Principal Investigator: Hajnal, Professor JV
Other Investigators:
Noble, Professor A Wells, Professor PNT Blomley, Professor M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr RJ Eckersley
Project Partners:
Department: Dept of Medicine
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 October 2004 Ends: 30 September 2007 Value (£): 291,545
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip. Medical Imaging
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
This research is designed to improve the quality of ultrasound images so that they can be used more reliably to detect and characterize a wide range of diseases. Although ultrasound imaging is a very widespread and popular imaging approach, the equipment requires very specialist knowledge on the part of the operator and the images are often difficult to interpret. Through this research we aim to develop a new simplified approach to ultrasound image formation with integrated intelligent computer algorithms automatically adjusting the ultrasound equipment to provide the best quality images possible. Our aim is to provide tools for imaging blood vessel and tissue changes often caused by diseases such as cancers. A key tool in achieving this is the use of microbubbles, which are tiny gas filled spheres that are biologically safe and can be injected into the bloodstream. They are smaller than red blood cells and circulate harmlessly until they dissolve after a few minutes. They show up on the ultrasound images because the sound is more strongly reflected from the bubbles than other tissues, so they can be used as tracers to reveal small blood vessels. We will investigate new, more sensitive, ways of detecting these bubbles and for controlling the ultrasound equipment so they can be imaged in the smallest quantities within the blood vessels deep inside the body. The initial research will be performed in a dedicated laboratory using a simplified fully programmable ultrasound test rig. Initial ideas will be tested on microbubbles flowing through small tubes. The research will be performed by two researchers working within the Imaging Sciences Department one of these will be studying for a PhD in Physics. The primary costs associated with this project is the salary of the post-doctoral research and the stipend and tuition fees of the student. The equipment required to perform the experiments is largely in place with only minor additions and improvements required for implementation of the proposed research. Many of the methods proposed can be implemented through programming of the computers controlling the ultrasound equipment, this allows the use of off the shelf electronic equipment and reduces both the cost and the complexity of the proposed research. This proposal is linked to the EPSRC/MRC joint funded Interdisciplinary Research Consortium focussed on Medical Imaging.
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk