TecSan - TecSan : Technologies pour la santé et l’autonomie

Very High Resolution Elasticity Imaging for the clinical assessment of local tissue biomechanical properties in Ophthalmology and Dermatology – MicroElasto

Submission summary

In vivo Imaging of tissue mechanical properties, the so called "elastography" receives an extremely rapidly growing interest in oncology, particularly for breast cancer diagnosis, but also for liver fibrosis staging, or also for the diagnosis of cardiac and vascular pathologies. For these applications, a fruitfull partnership during the four last years between an academy world renowned lab (Institut Langevin - ESPCI) and a fast growing innovative company (Supersonic Imagine) has allowed to develop and commercialize a new ultrafast ultrasound system able not only to provide a conventionnal ultrasound image but also to map quantitatively the mechanical properties of tissue (Young's modulus and shear viscosity) with a milimeter resolution at few centimeters depth. The goal of this project is to propose a new technological breakthrough for this kind of technology in order propose a clinical MicroElastography modality reaching a resolution of about 50 µm for the elasticity maps.
Many clinical applications may results from this new MicroElastography concept. Two main targets for clinical investigations seem to be particulalry relevant. Fisrt in Ophtalmology, the in vivo imaging of cornea mechanical properties will open new avenues in the clinical understanding of corneal pathologies (such as Keratoconus). It will also provide a way to quantify the biomechanical response of the cornea after photoabblative surgery (LASIK), to explore the effects of corneal transplants placed using femtosecond lasers on corneal corrected rigidity, or to quantify the efficiency of corneal photo polymerization in order to slowdown progressive Keratoconus. Moreover, the imaging of crystaline lens biomechanical properties will allow to estimate local tissue sceloris responsible for the presbyopia, a major public health care problem for 45 years older people. In particular, this application could be associated to the use of femtosecond lasers that perform a crystaline lens remodeling in order to soften lens tissue. Presbyopia treatment is one of the most ambitious goal
of modern opthalmology since the appearance of the cataract surgery or the excimer laser. In dermatology, such a system would provide an innovative tool for the biomechanical characterization of skin tumors. Combined to conventional echographic images, the quantitative elasticity maps could increase the diagnosis specificity and a more accurate estimation of the lesion boundaries.
On the scientific and technological side, this partnership between the Langevin Institute (ESPCI, Paris), a world renowned academic laboratory in medical ultrasound, and Supersonic Imagine company, the up today single company providing an ultrasound multichannel system with all-software realtime beamforming processing capabilities places France into a technological leader position for clinical elasticity imaging. This industrial research project, will permit : - from a technical point of view, to increase by more than a factor 10 the resolution capabilities of their unique elastography modality. - from a clinical point of view, in association with two world renowned clinical partners, to study the impact of this MicroElastography imaging modality (in terms of specificity) on the diagnosis of most pathologies in ophtalmology and dermatology. Finally, one of the direct fallout of this project will also be the potential deliverable of this new high frequency ultrasound sytem relying on this unique MicroElastography feature to another fast growing market, i.e. the small animal imaging market.

Project coordination

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


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Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 0 Months

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