Mammography is currently the most effective screening and diagnostic tool for early detection of breast cancer. However the current 2-view mammography method lacks sensitivity and has a very high false alarm rate. X-ray digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) is an emerging technique for producing multi-slice images to provide depth resolution and improved contrast. The goal of this proposal is to develop the next generation DBT scanner with significantly improved system performance at potentially reduced dose and cost. All current commercial prototype DBT scanners use a regular full-field digital mammography (FFDM) system to generate a series of projection views from a limited angle range using a single x-ray source that moves along an arc above the compressed breast. Such scanners have several intrinsic limitations including: 1) the source rotation leads to long scanning time and discomfort for patients from breast compression;and 2) the slow motion of the source leads to motion blurring and system instability that limited the spatial resolution. In addition the long scanning time prevents the adaptation of advanced imaging methods such as dual energy and quasi-monochromatic, and k- edge imaging which can potentially provide better contrast and reduce imaging dose. We propose to develop a novel stationary DBT scanner to mitigate the above limitations. This proposed device is based on the new carbon nanotube (CNT) multi-pixel field emission x- ray (MBFEX) technology invented and demonstrated by our team. The scanner will be designed to offer the following advantages over the current commercial units: a factor of 10 increase of the imaging speed;increased spatial resolution;simplified system design and reduced cost;and dual energy and quasi-monochromatic imaging at a reasonable scanning time. The feasibility of the proposed device has been demonstrated. The goal of this proposal is to take this technology to the next level moving from a laboratory proof-of-concept assembly to a fully functional system that will be used for clinical studies. We have formed a partnership comprising an interdisciplinary team from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC), Southern Illinois University (SIU), and XinRay Systems - a Siemens and Xintek Joint Venture (XinRay). The UNC team pioneered the CNT MBFEX technology and the stationary tomography imaging concept. XinRay was recently established specifically for the purpose of manufacturing and commercializing the MBFEX technology for x-ray imaging. The group at SIU has extensive experiences is reconstruction and image analysis for breast tomosynthesis.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of this proposal is to develop the next generation digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) scanner for detection and diagnostic of human breast cancer with significantly improved imaging speed and resolution, and potentially reduced dose and cost. To perform this work we have formed a partnership comprising an interdisciplinary team from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (UNC), Southern Illinois University (SIU), and XinRay Systems - a Siemens and Xintek Joint Venture (XinRay). The optimized device will be installed at the UNC medical school as a shared imaging facility and for future clinical studies

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SBIB-S (50))
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Zhang, Yantian
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Arts and Sciences
Chapel Hill
United States
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