CT Alternative | Photoacoustic Breakthrough | The Case for Screening

“This is category-redefining technology in the field of nuclear medicine and will set the standard for years to come.”

Spectrum Dynamics president and CEO, Michael Joos, is expecting big things for the company’s now-FDA-cleared VERITON-CT 64 Digital SPECT/CT scanner.

Imaging Wire Sponsors

  • Carestream – Focused on delivering innovation that is life changing – for patients, customers, employees, communities and other stakeholders
  • Focused Ultrasound Foundation – Accelerating the development and adoption of focused ultrasound
  • Medmo – Helping underinsured Americans save on medical scans by connecting them to imaging providers with unfilled schedule time
  • OpenMarkets – A marketplace for healthcare equipment, used by hundreds of hospitals and suppliers to buy and sell imaging equipment in the most efficient way possible.
  • Pocus Systems – A new Point of Care Ultrasound startup, combining a team of POCUS veterans with next-generation technology to disrupt the industry

The Imaging Wire

Happy Thanksgiving, Imaging Wire Readers!
Heads-up that this is going to be a one-issue week (our first ever), so we made this issue a bit more robust to tide you over until next Monday. The Imaging Wire is thankful for all of you who spend each Monday and Thursday morning catching up on the news with us and we’re super thankful for our newsletter sponsors. Please make sure to visit their sites, and if you see them at RSNA (or anywhere), thank them for sponsoring The Imaging Wire. They make this publication possible.

Keep an eye out for me at RSNA, too. I’d love to meet you.

Canada’s CT Alternative
Canadian medical imaging startup, KA Imaging, developed a new portable X-ray system that provides a clearer view of patient’s lungs and may serve as a lower-dose/cost and more-accessible alternative to CT scans for lung cancer screening. As may be interpreted from its very specific name, the “high-resolution multi-energy digital X-ray imager” allows clinicians to view images of the body in layers, separating bone structure and soft tissue, thus improving their ability to spot cancers that may be hidden behind the ribs. Next up is a study where 30 already-diagnosed patients will have their KA Imaging scans compared with their regular CT scan to assess image quality (not a diagnostic study), in preparation for a possible mid-2019 launch.

Photoacoustic Imaging Targets Ovarian Cancer
Researchers at St. Louis’ Washington University developed a new technique that combines coregistered photoacoustic tomography with transvaginal ultrasound and may allow earlier ovarian cancer detection. The researchers created a sheath with laser-connected optical fibers that wrap around a standard transvaginal ultrasound probe, shining the laser at the tumor to generate sound waves. These sound waves provide information about tumor angiogenesis (hemoglobin concentration – rHbT) and oxygen saturation (sO2), thus revealing signs of ovarian cancer (extensive blood vessels and lower sO2). In a 16-patient pilot study, the team found that rHbT was 1.9-times higher with invasive epithelial cancerous ovaries (90% of all ovarian cancers) and mean oxygen saturation of invasive epithelial cancers was 9.1% lower than normal and benign ovaries. Ovarian cancer patients have a much higher survival rate if identified in stages 1 or 2 (70%-90% in 5yrs) versus stages 3 or 4 (just 20% in 5yrs). However, only 20% of ovarian cancers are identified early, making this a very important breakthrough that may save lives and help women avoid unnecessary preventative surgery. Washington University’s ovarian cancer detection technique represents the latest in a number of recent photoacoustic imaging discoveries to come from US academia, following advancements at Purdue University (cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes), SUNY Buffalo (swallowing disorders), and Caltech (breast cancer).

The Case for Screening
A Swedish study (n= 52,438) found that early breast cancer detection, achieved from regular breast cancer screenings, can reduce breast cancer deaths by 60% within 10 years of diagnosis and by 47% within 20 years, allowing these women to live an average of 16.5 years longer (and better) lives. The researchers state that early detection allows women with breast cancer to benefit from modern treatment advancements, taking specific aim at other studies (like this one) that suggest that improved treatment is primarily responsible for falling breast cancer mortality rates (and not proactive screenings). This study makes sense to us.

Fujifilm Rolls Out RSNA Announcements
Fujifilm hit the presses with a quartet of announcements highlighting its upcoming product debuts at RSNA 2018, with a focus on its DR, mammography, and artificial intelligence lines.

The Shift to Single Source PACS
New research from Reaction Data suggests that imaging providers are moving away from “Best of Breed” enterprise imaging (a “deconstructed PACS” approach with different vendors for PACS, VNA, viewers, etc.) in favor of a “Single Source” approach (all components from a single company/platform). The survey of 297 providers revealed that between 2016 and 2018 the share of providers with single source infrastructure increased from 54% to 67%, while providers using a “Best of Breed” infrastructure fell from 46% to 33% (no calculator needed for that). This trend is likely to continue as 42% of the providers that are still using a “Best of Breed” approach would prefer to shift to a “Single Source” infrastructure, while only 29% of the providers who have adopted a “Single Source” approach would prefer to shift to a “Best of Breed” system.

The Wire

  • Agfa signed a three-year group purchasing agreement with Premier, giving Premier’s members (3,900 hospitals, 150,000 provider organizations) access to special pricing and pre-negotiated terms for Agfa’s Direct Radiography and fluoroscopy imaging systems. Agfa’s systems have been available through Premier for years and it’s likely that this deal is an extension from a previous agreement.
  • Carestream will showcase Carestream Vue Reporting’s multimedia advancements at RSNA, including the integration of graphs, tables, images, and hyperlinks, suggesting that these elements add value to traditional reports, and boost productivity and collaboration. Carestream highlighted early results at the NIH Clinical Center, which within several months is using multimedia reporting in 70% of all CT reports and 50% of all MR reports.

The Resource Wire

– This is sponsored content.

  • A new study in JACR revealed that the rise of high-deductible health plans has led to greater patient concerns over imaging costs than ever before, while patient price shopping often leads to “confusion, misinformation, and opaqueness.” These are the exact patients who can be helped by the Medmo platform, which connects high-deductible patients with radiology centers, ensuring the lowest costs for patients and a profitable revenue stream for imaging centers.
  • POCUS Systems is approved as a Veteran Owned Business with the US Government Office of Veterans Business Development, paving the way for partnerships with the federal healthcare delivery systems.

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