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Improving resolution of Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) images for prostate cancer assessment

Country of Origin: Singapore
Reference Number: TOSG20160929002
Publication Date: 24 October 2017


A Singapore hospital has developed a software algorithm which is able to increase the resolution of Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) images for prostate cancer assessment. This technique uses two anisotropic acquisitions and reconstructs an isotropic volume.

The hospital is interested in establishing license agreements or research cooperation agreements with SMEs of all sizes or healthcare research institutions.


Current anisotropic acquisitions limit interpretation and visualization of prostate cancer lesions in non-acquisition planes. Although high resolution isotropic images increased the accuracy of diagnosis, patient discomfort, increase in acquisition time and hardware limitations prohibit their clinical acquisition. In such cases, post-processing techniques like super-resolution can be used for isotropic reconstruction of clinical data. 

An evaluation was carried out on phantom DWI dataset and 25 prostate cancer patients DWI datasets and found increased resolution in through and oblique planes, lower volumetric error and lower false positives using super-resolution reconstructions. This technology addresses the impact of resolution improvement of DW images on prostate cancer diagnosis. Super-resolution has been employed for DWI in literature before with better results compared to traditional resolution improvement techniques like interpolation. However, previous studies are limited to brain related Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) based applications and impact of resolution improvement has not been evaluated in the context of prostate cancer assessment before.

This software application requires at least two orthogonal MRI acquisitions of same patient. Super-resolution reconstruction for DWI also requires the acquisition of field maps for distortion correction, using tools like FSL/SPM. The super-resolution reconstruction algorithm is coded in C++ using ITK package. For Apparent Diffusion Coefficient (ADC) maps generation from DWI, software packages like MATLAB are used.

The hospital is interested in establishing license agreements and research cooperation agreements with partner from the healthcare industry, such as an SME of any size to commercialise the technology, or with a research institute for further R&D.


Advantages and Innovations

Resolution improvement through super-resolution reduces acquisition time that is required to acquire an isotropic image without sacrificing the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR). This study also showed lower false positives from super-resolution based DWI reconstructions which could potentially improve the precision of DWI interpretation in prostate cancer assessment. Isotropic reconstructions of DWI and their corresponding T2 Weighted imaging (T2Wi) can be fused for MRI-ultrasound fusion biopsy systems for better visualization and targeting of lesions and biopsy sites. This technology will be applicable in all healthcare setting providing assessment of prostate cancer.

Current state of art fusion images use anisotropic magnetic resonance (MR) acquisitions for fusion and therefore have low through plane and oblique plane resolution. Proposed technology provides isotropic image for fusion through post-processing yet obviates the need to acquire high resolution isotropic image. Hence better through plane and oblique plane visualization is obtained without increasing acquisition times.

Stage Of Development

Prototype available for demonstration

Requested partner

The Singapore hospital seeks to work with SMEs of all sizes or research/healthcare institutions in a licensing or research cooperation agreement partnership.

The partner sought could be a healthcare institution or healthcare technologies provider.

Under a licensing agreement:
The partner can license the technology to offer as a product or service to their customers.

Under a research cooperation agreement:
The partner can undertake joint development with the Singapore hospital to offer to introduce new products to targeted markets/segments.

Cooperation offer ist closed for requests