Medical Imaging

Medical Imaging Portfolios

Most Recent Inventions

Monomeric Fluorescent Protein-Ligand Complexes with Strong Fluorescence in the Far-Red Region

Research from the University of Wisconsin-Washington County in collaboration with the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine in India, has resulted in the development of monomeric variants of the naturally occurring Sandercyanin Fluorescent Protein (SFP) using site-directed mutagenesis. This work has stemmed from earlier research focused on development of the tetrameric form of SFP, a biliverdin-binding lipocalin protein originally isolated from the mucus of the blue walleye fish, Sander vitreus. Monomeric variants of SFP (mSFPs) have been found to possess the same non-covalent, bili-binding characteristics of the tetramer but are one-quarter the size (~18.6kDa) and do not oligomerize. They are therefore anticipated to be more useful in a host of biotechnology applications. Like the tetrameric form, the mSFPs have a large stokes shift (375nm/675nm) and fluoresce in the far-red or near infrared region, which is advantageous for a wide range of applications including investigation of protein-protein interactions, spatial and temporal gene expression, assessing cell biology distribution and mobility, studying protein activity and protein interactions in vivo, as well as cancer research, immunology, and stem cell research and sub-cellular localization. In addition, the newly developed mSFP’s far-red fluorescence is particularly advantageous for in vivo, deep-tissue imaging.

Point-of-Care Obstetrical Imaging for Minimally or Untrained Birth Attendants

UW–Madison researchers with expertise in ultrasound technology and maternal-fetal health have designed a simplified, low cost ultrasound device to help minimally or untrained care providers recognize complications in pregnant women and make appropriate referrals. The operator does not need to interpret technical images.

The device is manually swept across the patient’s abdomen; automated algorithms extract critical structural information from these manual sweeps and convert the data into a 3-D model. Sequential estimation techniques are used to assess fetal gestational age, growth, presentation and number, as well as placental location.

The system features three main improvements:
  1. A specialized transducer fits comfortably in the hand, unlike conventional probes.
  2. The easy-to-understand interface guides the operator to move the probe across the patient’s abdomen; sonographic training is not required.
  3. If the device detects potential complications (e.g., if the fetus is malpresented, or the placenta is over the cervix) an alarm/flash will signal that the patient should be evaluated by a trained care provider.

Rapid MRI Gradient Calibration Using Single-Point Imaging

UW–Madison researchers have developed a dynamic SPI-based method for MRI systems that allows simple, rapid and robust measurement of k-space trajectory.

To enable gradient measurement, they utilized the variable field-of-view (FOV) property of dynamic SPI, which is dependent on gradient shape. In the process, one-dimensional (1-D) dynamic SPI data are acquired from a targeted gradient axis, and then relative FOV scaling factors between 1-D images or k-spaces at varying encoding times are found. These relative scaling factors are the relative k-space position that can be used for image reconstruction.

The gradient measurement technique also can be used to estimate the gradient impulse response function for reproducible gradient estimation as a linear time invariant system.

New Technology for Measuring Stress in Tendons, Ligaments and Muscles

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new device and technique for dynamically, noninvasively and accurately measuring longitudinal stress in tendons, muscles and ligaments in vivo.

The inventors use skin-mounted accelerometers to measure transverse wave speeds in superficial tissues under time-varying loading scenarios. Such wave speed propagation metrics are then used to determine tissue stress based on a wave propagation model.

Digital Otoscope for Optimal Access, Visualization

UW–Madison researchers have designed an otoscope featuring a small camera that is mounted on a narrow tip and able to ‘look around’ obstructions such as earwax. The narrow tip also permits other medical instruments to be inserted into the ear while the otoscope is being used (e.g., a curette for removing earwax or foreign objects). A remarkable view of the tympanic membrane is achieved, facilitating proper diagnosis.

Notable features include a disposable, light-conducting speculum sleeve with distal tip smaller than 2 mm. In addition, images may be captured directly from the device and stored in the patient record in compliance with Federal law.

Most Recent Patents

Generating Medical Isotopes with Safer Vessel and Materials

Wisconsin researchers have developed a ring-shaped, or annular, fissile solution vessel for generating medical isotopes.

The assembly holds three nested chambers. Ions are first directed into an internal target chamber containing a gas. The neutrons that are generated pass outward, through a cooling jacket, into the surrounding fissile solution vessel. This vessel contains an aqueous composition of nuclear material and is shaped to increase heat transfer area to volume. Neutrons strike the nuclear material, generating isotopes and additional neutrons. The solution vessel is separated by another cooling jacket from an outer chamber that reflects neutrons.

Long-Lived Gadolinium-Based Agents for Tumor Imaging and Therapy

UW–Madison researchers have synthesized the first long-lived tumor-specific contrast agents for general broad spectrum tumor imaging and characterization. The new, gadolinium (Gd)-labeled analogs utilize an alkylphosphocholine carrier backbone. Their formulation properties render them suitable for injection while retaining tumor selectivity.

Improved Phantom for Quantitative Diffusion MRI

UW–Madison researchers have developed a q-dMRI phantom with advantageous properties, including single-peak MR spectrum and Gaussian diffusion propagation. By varying the combined concentration of solvent (e.g., acetone) and solute (e.g., deuterium oxide or diacetyl), the diffusivity of the solution can be controlled to fall within a range of values found in a variety of biological tissues in different physiological conditions and environments.

Under temperature-controlled conditions (for example, submerging the phantom in an ice-water bath) the phantom can reproducibly exhibit ADC values that cover the entire physiological range. Furthermore, different types of paramagnetic salts may be added into the mixture to control T1 and T2 relaxation of the phantom.