Towards Medical Diagnostics Using Hyperspectral X-ray Scatter

C. Greenwood, K. Rogers, M. Wilson, I. Lyburn, P. Evans, G. Davies
Cranfield University,
United Kingdom

Keywords: focal construct technology, medical diagnostic, biomarkers, osteoporosis


This pilot study builds from a recent international, programme that showed, for the first time, the clinical value of new biomarkers to predict fracture risk in osteoporotic patients. The research indicated several potential, high impact routes towards point of care application. Our current studies take the first steps to empirical assessment towards practical implementation of the technology. The initial study was performed entirely with interrogating probes applied in transmission mode i.e. bones were illuminated from one side and signals measured from the opposite side. This has some disadvantages that would be overcome were reflection mode (probe and detector on same side) employed. Further, recent advances in detector technology have resulted in the first commercially available hyperspectral X-ray imaging system that has the promise of faster, lower dose imaging. Thus this pilot study involves the creation of unique, high impact data with the potential to form the basis of a new generation of medical diagnostic instrumentation. We present the findings from our initial examination of ex vivo tissues. A systematic series of conventional reflection mode experiments were performed in which bone specimens were examined through increasing thicknesses of overlaying muscle/fat/skin. This data provided an indication of parameter precision associated with the biomarkers that were used in subsequent phases. Further, we have applied a new imaging modality (focal construct technology, FCT) to these geometries. FCT is a new approach to data collection using hollow X-ray beams and this was applied in reflection mode to measure bone mineral signatures. This had not previously been attempted and required some initial modelling to ensure correct topologies of the hollow beams. The speed/dose advantage of FCT was evaluated.