Blanc Inter II SVSE 5 - Blanc International II - SVSE 5 - Physique, Chimie du vivant et innovations biotechnologiques

Ultrasonic Shear Wave Imaging For Tendon Therapy – UltraSWIFT

Submission summary

Imaging of the mechanical properties of human tissues, a research application field known as Elastography, is today envisioned to become a major advance in cancer diagnostic as will as for liver fibrosis staging or the diagnostic of cardiovascular pathologies. In the framework of these applications, a fruitful and long-term partnership between the Langevin Institute (CNRS UMR 7587) and the French company Supersonic Imagine led to the advent of a breakthrough ultrasound scanner able to provide in real time both high end conventional ultrasonic images and quantitative maps of tissues elasticity (characterized by the Young’s modulus in kPa). Elasticity maps rely on a millimetric resolution up to several centimetre depth. The imaging approach proposed by Institute Langevin is called Shear Wave Imaging and is today the unique quantitative and real time elasticity imaging modality. It was recently proven to increase the specificity of ultrasound in the framework of breast cancer diagnosis and liver fibrosis staging. Institute Langevin and Supersonic Imagine are co-owners of more than 5 key patents protecting the field of Shear Wave Imaging.
The aim of this project is to strongly extend the potential of Shear Wave Imaging both in terms of new diagnosis and treatment monitoring capabilities. Whereas the project will present several physics and technical challenges, the efficiency of proposed solutions will be evaluated for tendons diagnostic imaging and therapy.
Indeed, tendon disorders are commonly seen and are responsible for substantial morbidity both in sports and in the workplace. Most of the people suffer from more than one episode of tendon injury in their life. Tendon and ligament injuries are some of the most common musculoskeletal disorders, ranging from a mild ankle sprain to an Achilles tendon rupture or flexor tendon injury of the hand. Industry sources estimate that there are approximately 700,000 tendon and ligament repair procedures in the single U.S., representing a $1.2 billion market. Tendon disorder is a difficult problem requiring lengthy management, but unfortunately the treatment responses is still poorly known and the basic pathological mechanism is still not fully understood.
In this proposal, Langevin Institute (CNRS UMR 7587) and the Institute of Biomedical Electronics and Bioinformatics of National Taiwan University will join their efforts in order to provide elasticity imaging both for diagnosis of tendons pathologies and for the monitoring/follow-up of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) treatments of tendons. By a strong collaborative effort, the two partners, recognized as leading groups in the field of ultrasound imaging and therapy, will combine a tendon therapy system based on HIFU and a diagnosis/monitoring ultrasound imaging system able to provide elasticity images of very stiff organs such as tendons.
Elasticity imaging of tendons will require strong research efforts as it corresponds to very stiff and geometrically complex organs. Indeed, the shear wave propagation is guided inside tendons leading to a leaky Lamb wave guided mode that complicates the quantification of local elasticity. Moreover, as tendons are very stiff, shear waves propagates at high speed in tendons and their tracking requires very high frame rates (typically 10000 ultrasonic frames per second), which is not feasible with current imaging technologies.
In this research grant, we propose a new approach to quantitatively measure tendon functions to overcome the difficulties of conventional approaches. Specifically, guided shear wave propagation in tendons will be monitored and exploited to assess local tendon elasticity using Lamb wave theory. The therapeutic effect of high-intensity pulsed ultrasound on diseased tendon will also be explored. System implementation of this imaging technology, as well as its integration with therapeutic device will also be performed and evaluated.

Project coordinator

Monsieur Jean-Luc GENNISSON (Institut Langevin) –

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.


CNRS UMR7587 Institut Langevin
NUT Institute of Biomedical elastronics and bioinformatics

Help of the ANR 617,020 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: May 2012 - 36 Months

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