One of the major causes of death in the world is heart disease, and early identification can significantly reduce the risk of future cardiovascular events. However, it has been challenging for many regions to have access to technologies that can identify early disease indicators, such as heart attacks. At the moment, finding CAC requires a CT scan, which is pricy, causes a lot of radiation exposure, and needs to be done in a hospital. It will be simpler to access if this preventative care undergoes significant changes.
With her new $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, Abbaszadeh and her collaborator Adam Wang, an assistant professor of radiology at Stanford University, are making routine breast exams easy. Develop new techniques for detecting her CAC that can be incorporated. Commonly used medical images can incorporate procedures. Abbaszadeh said her easily portable X-ray system could make a big difference in areas where she doesn’t have access to CT scans because of the need for hospital settings. X-ray imaging material decomposition and lesion differentiation can be advanced.
The new technology is an advanced dual-layer X-ray detector that produces both conventional images of the body and, in this case, material-specific images that detect calcium. Wang’s team will develop artificial intelligence algorithms to automatically detect and quantify the amount of calcium present. This technique is a drop-in solution to existing clinical procedures and does not require additional irradiation or scan time.
The researchers will initially focus on detecting CAC, but believe their system could be used for early detection of lung cancer, breast cancer, tuberculosis, and other diseases. Abbaszadeh says the company is developing a technology platform that combines innovations in materials science, radiation detection, circuit design and computation to create new possibilities for X-ray imaging. One application is for coronary calcification, but the problem can be much larger and more pervasive.
A dedicated detector development facility will provide Abbaszadeh’s lab with a wide range of research opportunities as the material has suitable properties for both photodetectors used in applications ranging from medical imaging to high energy physics.
To develop the next generation of her X-ray imaging technology, Abbaszadeh and her students are using equipment in her Baskin School of Engineering lab to study the optics of chalcogenide materials containing one or more chalcogen elements. develop mechanical and electrical properties. The facility is dedicated to developing detectors based on chalcogenide alloys of elemental selenium and, to Abbaszadeh and Wang’s knowledge, is the only such facility in the domestic research environment.