Kitware Awarded NIH Grant to Improve Lesion Biopsy Using PET-CT Imaging

Kitware has received a one-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) totaling $228,458 to improve the clinical effectiveness of liver lesion biopsy using PET-CT imaging. The project will extend the open source Image Guided Surgery Toolkit (IGSTK) to enable the fusion of motion corrected PET images with CT images for liver lesion biopsy.

The main focus of the project will be the development of a robust respiratory motion correction technique aimed at producing more effective PET-CT guided biopsies. Kitware and its team of researchers will develop a respiratory motion correction algorithm to help develop a better technique, which decreases errors in imaging caused by artifacts like organ sliding which can occur just from the natural respiration process.

”While PET imaging can localize malignancies in tumors that do not have a CT correlate, the diagnostic benefit is often gravely affected by basic respiratory motion,” said Dr. Andinet Enquobahrie, technical lead at Kitware and one of the principal investigators for the project. “The difference in acquisition times between PET and CT data often leads to discrepancy in spatial correspondence which then causes problems with tumor localization. With this grant, Kitware will develop robust respiratory motion correction technique to correct this and reduce incorrect tumor staging.”

Kitware will team up with Dr. Kevin Cleary at Georgetown University for development of some of the components and clinical evaluation of the system. Under the leadership of Dr. Cleary, the Computer Aided Interventional and Medical Robotics (CAIMR) group at Georgetown has developed a number of applications for improving the accuracy of interventional procedures. Kitware and Dr. Cleary have a long and productive relationship collaborating on several NIH-funded STTR, SBIR and RO1 projects over the past five years. In addition, the research team has contracted two consultants with extensive expertise in PET imaging and clinical use of PET-CT imaging for interventional procedures.

Upon completion, the system will display the motion-corrected, fused and side-by-side, PET and CT images for interventional radiologists to view. Electromagnetic tracking of the needle tip using the image-guided system will provide continuous monitoring of the needle relative to the PET and CT images. The radiologist would then use this virtual image display of metabolic and anatomic information to guide the needle to the lesion. This system will enable future applications beyond biopsy, such as ablations and the delivery of other minimally invasive therapies.

For more technical information on this project or to collaborate with Kitware, please contact Andinet Enquobahrie at kitware@kitware.com.

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