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Evaluation of tissue elasticity characteristics including anisotropy in different types of malignant, benign and normal tissues
University of Dundee
Division of Cancer Research, Medical Research Institute
Prof A Evans
No more applications being accepted
Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
This research project has funding attached. Funding for this project is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full department and project details for further information.
PhD Research Project
S Cochrane, A Evans, G Nabi
This project will focus on studying the impact of tissue anisotropy on elasticity measurements, by applying 2D and 3D shear wave elastography (SWE) in breast and prostate normal, benign and malignant structures.
SWE is an exciting new ultrasound imaging technique that is both quantitative and reproducible, allowing measurement of tissue stiffness in real time and showing promise for evaluation of breast and prostate abnormalities. Breast and prostate cancers are stiffer than benign lesions and, in addition, abnormal peritumoural stroma has been uniquely demonstrated and characterized by SWE. Tumour-associated stroma has a central role in tumour initiation and progression. SWE can be used in 2D and 3D applications allowing the volume of abnormal tissue to be demonstrated as well as the degree of increased stiffness. Clinical use of SWE has demonstrated anisotropy in both prostate and breast lesions.
Men suspected of prostate cancer are offered transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) guided biopsies to confirm diagnosis. From lack of a specific sonographic appearance of prostate cancer on TRUS, multiple biopsies must be taken. Errors have been reported up to 20-30%. Prostate cancer is a multifocal disease and numerous studies have reported poor correlation of histology between specimens after radical prostatectomy and biopsy from TRUS. Our preliminary work indicates that SWE shows considerable anisotropy in abnormal lesions in prostate cancer. Prostate cancer lesions in the anterior zones are difficult to detect using the transrectal probe and similarly lesions in the base show variations in detection depending upon the scanning axis of the rectal probe. The proposed project will explore anisotropy in SWE in prostate phantoms using different sizes of tumours and subsequently translate this information into clinical practice.
In the breast, SWE has been shown to be a highly accurate and reproducible method of distinguishing between benign and malignant lesions[4-6] and also shows promise as a method of predicting response to chemotherapy and investigating tumour/stromal interactions. Correlation of SWE images and measurements with histology slices and tissue structures will be performed in various scanning planes (longitudinal, transverse, radial, antiradial). Development of anisotropy phantoms and mathematical modelling will also be included in the work on breast cancer.
The project is focused on two very important clinical problems and will involve working with a multidisciplinary team of breast radiologists, urologists, pathologists, statisticians, medical physicists, and imaging and computer scientists, thus offering the PhD student an excellent choice of future career paths.
How to apply
Candidates are expected to hold at least an upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject. Please email us your CV with a covering letter(as two separate attachments) stating why you are interested in this particular studentship and why you think you may be a suitable candidate. Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Shear Wave PhD Application”. Applications must be received by midnight on Monday 10 September 2012.
Please note, this is a full-time studentship, based in Dundee. Fees and a stipend will be paid.
Fully funded for UK / EU students by Supersonic Imagine (industrial partner) and SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network: a Platform for Scientific Excellence).
1. Bercoff J, Tanter M, Fink M. Supersonic shear imaging: a new technique for soft tissue elasticity mapping. IEEE Trans Ultrason Ferroelectr Freq Control. 2004 Apr;51(4):396-409.
2. Cosgrove DO, Berg WA, Doré CJ, Skyba DM, Henry JP, Gay J, Cohen-Bacrie C; the BE1 Study Group. Shear wave elastography for breast masses is highly reproducible. Eur Radiol. 2011 Dec 31.
3. Aboumarzouk O, Ogston S, Haung Z, Evans A, Melzer A, Stolzenberg JU, Nabi G. Diagnostic accuracy of transrectal elastosonography imaging for the diagnosis of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BJU Int (in press):
4. Evans A, Whelehan P, Thomson K, McLean D, Brauer K, Purdie C, Jordan L, Baker L, Thompson A. (2010) Quantitative shear wave ultrasound elastography: initial experience in solid breast masses. Breast Cancer Research [serial on the Internet]. 12(6): Available from: http://breast-cancer-research.com/content/12/6/R104.
5. Berg WA, Cosgrove DO, Doré CJ, Schäfer FK, Svensson WE, Hooley RJ, Ohlinger R, Mendelson EB, Balu-Maestro C, Locatelli M, Tourasse C, Cavanaugh BC, Juhan V, Stavros AT, Tardivon A, Gay J, Henry JP, Cohen-Bacrie C; BE1 Investigators. Shear-wave elastography improves the specificity of breast US: the BE1 multinational study of 939 masses. Radiology. 2012 Feb;262(2):435-49.
6. Tozaki M, Fukuma E. Pattern classification of ShearWave™ Elastography images for differential diagnosis between benign and malignant solid breast masses. Acta Radiol. 2011 Dec 1;52(10):1069-75.
Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 Results
Unit of Assessment:
Other Laboratory Based Clinical Subjects
What is the RAE?
FTE Category A Staff Submitted
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