Public Release: 

Using body noise to improve cancer detection

Using the body's own 'seismic noise,' passive elastography allows more effective imaging deep inside body to assist in tumor diagnosis

Acoustical Society of America

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 25, 2017 -- Elastography, sometimes referred as seismology of the human body, is an emerging technology used to enhance medical ultrasound imaging. It does this by measuring the elasticity of biological tissue to diagnose cancer or liver and thyroid disease more accurately and at the earliest stages.

In passive elastography, the elasticity of tissue is measured using the body's own propagation of shear waves, which enables more effective imaging deeper inside the body in an even more noninvasive way than traditional elastography.

"Passive elastography is foreseen as a viable technique for cancer detection in organs deep in the body, such as the prostate or liver, for well-protected organs such as the brain, and for fragile organs such as the eye," said Stefan Catheline, research director of the INSERM LabTAU Unit 1032 at the University of Lyon, France.

Catheline will discuss this and other elastography advances during Acoustics '17 Boston, the third joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association being held June 25-29, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Shear waves, which penetrate through an object, are generated when pressure on an object causes it to deform, such as during an earthquake or explosion. In medical science, shear waves are produced by vibrational devices to measure the stiffness of tissue.

A cancerous tumor and other tissue dysfunction exhibit much higher stiffness than in healthy tissue or even in benign tumors. This difference in stiffness cannot be felt or seen in conventional ways or through other imaging methods.

Typically, a medical technician places a probe with a vibrating mechanism on the area for testing and presses down to produce the shear waves, which then interact with the tissue in question. The waves are tracked at ultrafast imaging rates. The shear waves can be difficult to produce in hard-to-reach organs, such as the liver that is located deep in the body behind the ribcage.

Catheline and his research colleagues have developed a new approach to remedy this problem: Analyze the noise of natural shear waves that are produced biologically. Just as in earthquakes, shear waves constantly move through organs and other soft tissue of a person during the everyday functionalities of these bodily systems, such as the beating of a heart or the liver performing everyday metabolic processes.

"The idea, as in seismology, is to take advantage of shear waves naturally present in the human body due to muscles activities to construct a shear elasticity map of soft tissues," Catheline said. "It is thus a passive elastography approach since no shear wave sources are used."

Passive elastography is compatible with slow imaging devices, such as standard echographs and MRI scanners, as well as with optical coherent tomography.

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Session 1pUWb5, "Passive elastography: A shear wave tomography of the human body" by Stefan Catheline, is at 2:40-3:00 p.m. EDT Sunday, June 25, 2017 in Room 309 of the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center.

MORE MEETING INFORMATION

Acoustics '17 Boston, the third joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association.

The meeting is being held June 25-29, 2017 at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

USEFUL LINKS

Main meeting website: http://acousticalsociety.org/content/acoustics-17-boston

Technical program: http://acousticalsociety.org/content/program-acoustics-17-boston

Meeting/Hotel site: http://acousticalsociety.org/content/acoustics-17-boston#reservation

Press Room: http://acoustics.org

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In the coming weeks, ASA's World Wide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay-language papers, which are 300-800 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio, and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at: http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.

PRESS REGISTRATION

We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact Julia Majors (jmajors@aip.org) at AIP Media, 301-209-3090. For urgent requests, please contact media@aip.org who can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.

LIVE MEDIA WEBCAST

A press briefing featuring will be webcast live from the conference on Monday, June 26, 2017 in the afternoon and Tuesday, June 27, 2017 in the morning in room 111 of the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

Register at https://www1.webcastcanada.ca/webcast/registration/asa617.php to watch the live webcast. The schedule will be posted here as soon as it is available.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://www.acousticalsociety.org.

ABOUT THE EUROPEAN ACOUSTICS ASSOCIATION

The European Acoustics Association (EAA) is a non-profit entity established in 1992 that includes in its membership societies predominantly in European countries interested in to promote development and progress of acoustics in its different aspects, its technologies and applications. EAA gathers 33 societies of acoustics and serves public citizens and more than 9000 individual members all over Europe with yearly events as well as scientific conferences and publications such as Acta Acustica united with Acustica and Acoustics in Practice. The European Acoustics Association (EAA) is an Affiliate Member of the International Commission for Acoustics (ICA) and of Initiative of Science in Europe ISE. Visit our website at https://euracoustics.org/.

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