Theme 3

Interventional imaging, sensing and contrast agents

Theme overview

Imaging capabilities to deliver information about the patient’s anatomy in real-­‐time during surgery is one of the most fundamental drivers of change in interventional practice. New trends in hybrid imaging are going to enhance the surgeon’s abilities to see multi-­‐scale information on the functional as well as structural characteristics of tissue. Optical imaging, biophotonics and interventional ultrasound techniques are suited to interventional imaging and can be combined with approved contrast agents and automated analysis approaches for improved guidance.

Aims and processes

This theme will focus on how to combine novel interventional modalities into the system architecture of image guided therapy systems, and how to integrate such systems into the clinical workflow. Although there are many existing interventional imaging techniques, the emerging modalities such as fluorescence, confocal imaging, photo-acoustics, optical coherence tomography, elastography etc. provide exciting opportunities for revealing previously inaccessible data. These approaches often require interpretation of data in order to provide diagnostic indicators, and validation requires correlation with other imaging modalities.

Relation to other key themes

Interventional imaging is a key process that can bridge the gap between the wealth of available preoperative data and the current patient status. This can allow more accurate interventions by updating the procedure in response to live imaging, or allow therapy monitoring of the tissue and patient health to minimise collateral damage. Therefore interventional imaging can act as a link with the other themes by complementing the planning process, providing feedback for computational update and motion compensation, including consideration of how such technologies can be brought into the clinical workflow. The developers of these systems, traditionally from a physics and chemistry background, will benefit from links to the computational scientists in the Network especially in T1 and T4 where the workflow and methodologies for signal interpretation and mathematics for prior integration can be developed.

Alignment with the IGT sector

Many current clinical procedures use standard formats of interventional imaging such as intra-procedural ultrasound or intraoperative imaging using endoscopes. Furthermore, additional interventions may be guided by fluoroscopy or even CT or MRI in specialist settings. Furthermore there is considerable research effort focused in improving interventional imaging so that clinically relevant data can be acquired at the point that it is required for intra-procedural decision making. The UK has an international reputation in interventional imaging, and our clinical and industrial collaborators are committed to integrating more intra-procedural image data. Therefore this theme is well aligned to the current IGT sector.

Key collaborators

  • University College London (Barratt, Clarkson, Desjardins, Hawkes, Ourselin, Stoyanov, Vercauteren)
  • University of Kent (Podoleanu)
  • University of Edinburgh (Bradley, Dhaliwal)
  • King’s College London (Rhode, Rezavi)
  • University of Glasgow (Mulvana, Cochran)
  • Ulster University (Finlay, McLaughlin)
  • Imperial College London (Elson, Yang)
  • Queen Mary University of London (Su)
  • University of Nottingham (Morgan, Notingher)

Theme Lead

Daniel Elson

Daniel Elson

Daniel Elson is a Reader in Surgical Imaging in the Hamlyn Centre for Robotic Surgery, Institute of Global Health Innovation and Department of Surgery and Cancer at St. Mary’s Hospital.

His research interests are based around the development and application of photonics technology to medical imaging, including multispectral imaging, ultrasound mediated optical tomography, structured lighting, light sources in endoscopy and scattering spectroscopy.