A team of researchers is developing an advanced X-ray imaging method that aims to improve the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. The noninvasive technology uses dyes, called contrast agents, that are specifically designed to recognize molecularly breast cancer cells and bind to them. The dyes will amplify the X-ray signal for tumors when imaged with a special, state-of-the-art computed tomography (CT) scanner, called “photon-counting spectral CT.”
The contrast agents, combined with X-ray imaging spectral CT and machine learning, could lead to a more precise diagnosis of the disease and assist significantly in early intervention. This is the first time this type of combined research is being done. It highlights the importance of X-ray CT in medicine.
Unlike images from conventional CT scanners, the multicolor, 3D X-ray images generated by spectral CT can help visualize tissue composition in the body based on the density and the atomic number of chemical elements found in those tissues.