Researchers at the Catholic University Seoul St. Mary's Hospital서울성모병원 have developed a new test to diagnose thyroid cancer by using photoacoustic images, the hospital said Friday.
Photoacoustic imaging is a technology that uses a photoacoustic material, which generates heat when it receives light, as a contrast agent to capture biomedical tissue as a medical image without side effects. It then obtains functional information in high resolution according to light absorption of living tissue.
A research team led by Professors Im Dong-joon임동준 and Ha Jeong-hoon하정훈 of the Department of Endocrinology developed a clinical photo-acoustic imaging system for the diagnosis of thyroid cancer. The application to clinical practice is still limited, though.
|Professors Im Dong-joon (left) and Ha Jeong-hoon|
By applying the photoacoustic image to the thyroid cancer tissue, the information generated by the cancer tissue in response to the specific laser is converted into the visual information. By also complementing the disadvantage of the ultrasonography for the diagnosis of common thyroid cancer, it will be able to replace the invasive biopsy, the hospital said.
If the biopsy is ambiguous, the diagnosis will likely be clarified based on the additional information through photoacoustic imaging. Further clinical trials are scheduled for the future.
With this study, Professors Im and Ha won the Excellent Performance Award at the Annual Symposium on Science, Technology, and Education & Autumn Symposium of Korean Endocrine Society on Nov. 2.
"This award is the result of the joint efforts of industry, academia and research institutes, and I will do my best to end the suffering,” said Professor Im. “The ultimate goal is to find a way to reliably diagnose early and non-invasive thyroid cancer."
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