Marked decreases in thermal effusivity of irradiated skin occur well in advance of development of higher grade skin reactions. 3D TT techniques can be used to measure these tissue property changes noninvasively. Additional studies using this new imaging technique to predict skin reactions in a
pig model are planned.
To investigate the early detection potential of TT, RUSH initiated a collaborative research Project with Argonne. RUSH used Argonne’s TT system. Clinical tests, initially, on small animals were conducted and skin effusivity measures made. Results indicated that the skin effusivity measured by the Argonne TT system, may, indeed, lead to earlier detection of skin reactions. However, additional testing is needed.
Thermal imaging has been widely studied for the detection of breast cancer. In an early application, passive thermal imaging has been used to image the temperature distribution pattern of the skin. Because cancer cells grow faster than healthy cells, their temperature can be a few degrees higher than healthy cells and they will appear as a hot area on the skin. Several large‐scale studies have been conducted using passive thermal imaging and the results have been generally positive. Today most thermal imaging studies are focused on active methods, e.g., introducing warm and cold conditions on the skin to induce a transient skin temperature response, that can be related to the conditions of skin or tissue under skin. This
research is on‐going.
One thermal imaging technique, however, owing to its quantitative and depth‐resolved imaging capability, may overcome the qualitative limitation. Thermal tomography (TT) measures the thermal effusivity of skin tissue as shown in the images on the right. By measuring effusivity, researchers can detect damaged skin cells that have different effusivity values compared to that of healthy skin cells. The effusivity measurement may serve as an indicator of skin tissue health.
RUSH and Argonne are seeking additional research funding to continue this skin reaction research. A project has been proposed to study reactions in large animals.
Marked decreases in thermal effusivity of irradiated skin occur well in advance of development of higher grade skin reactions. 3D TT techniques can be used to measure these tissue property changes noninvasively. Additional studies using this new imaging technique to predict skin reactions in a pig model are planned
Argonne is currently developing a new and more sophisticated algorithm for its TT method. Although the current system constructs 3D TT images, it employs a simple deconvolution algorithm that shows decreased spatial (depth) resolution at deeper depths. A new, more rigorous deconvolution algorithm is being developed that will improve the resolution especially at subsurface depths. Initial results from testing it in the laboratory are positive. Argonne expects its development will greatly enhance TT analysis capabilities for both industrial as well as medical applications.
TT may also be used for detection of other skin dis eases such as skin cancer where the changes in effusivity allow researchers to locate and quantify the number of cancer cells. TT may also be used to measure skin damage caused by electricity or lightening, and to evaluate the progress of skin grafts. Such applications require the determinations of tissue conditions below the skin that is normally not visible but can be measured by TT. Research projects to investigate these possible uses are being sought.
Tech Transfer Details
- The method is patent protected
- Available for license
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