Motivated by the success in feasibility trials in a range of applications, iThera Medical together with its customers and collaborators are continuously exploring new clinical applications for optoacoustic imaging (OAI).
Some areas, particularly breast cancer and melanoma, have been the focus of OAI for many researchers. Other clinical areas, however, are completely new to OAI. They develop based on the understanding that OAI can assess changes in tissue composition and hypothesizing how this might be useful in different disease areas.
Assessing inflammation is a key strength of OAI. This also plays out for inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis. Raster-scanning optoacoustic mesoscopy (RSOM) provides high resolution visualization of blood vessels in the different layers of the human skin.
In a recent clinical study, this allowed investigators to differentiate healthy from psoriatic skin and to demonstrate the strong correlation of non-invasive RSOM metrics to standard biopsy-based classification of psorias
Understanding the metabolism of adipose tissue is important in diseases such as obesity, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Adipose tissue as well as brown fat activation was recently imaged non-invasively with the MSOT Acuity in a clinical feasibility study. Volunteers wore a vest with circulating cold water, which enabled MSOT before and after brown fat activation.
The MSOT measurements correlated with indirect calorimetry. Thus, MSOT can potentially visualize brown fat in different areas of the body and quantify metabolic activity in real-time.
Systemic sclerosis manifests as fibrosis of the skin and internal organs and is associated with progressive microvascular dysfunction.
OAI provides the opportunity to study and quantify such dysfunction directly and non-invasively, as was done in a recent clinical trial.
Differential diagnosis of congenital vascular anomalies is challenging and frequently leads to misdiagnosis. Vascular malformations are therefore considered one of the most challenging vascular diseases to diagnose and treat. In a recent clinical trial, patients with arteriovenous or venous malformations were imaged by MSOT before and after endovascular embolization or percutaneous sclerotherapy, respectively.
OAI can not only visualize vascular anatomical features but also quantitatively assess a molecular biomarker such as increased hemoglobin signal that would aid both diagnosis and monitoring of treatment response in the field of vascular malformations.
Applications for Clinical Research