Physicians need to make decisions to provide their patients with the best possible treatment. Researchers of Fraunhofer IGD are working on a procedure connecting the physician’s empirical data, image data, and general patient data for decision making. Up-to-date results can be seen at this year’s RSNA in Chicago.
(Darmstadt/Rostock/Graz) The Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) is the leading specialized conference featuring exhibits of this medical specialty. This year, the motto is “Beyond Imaging,” illustrating the latest research trend. “After imaging—particularly in 3D—had secured its position in diagnostics and therapy, the question now is how we can work even better with these procedures and the resulting data,” explains Dr. Stefan Wesarg of Fraunhofer IGD. Wesarg’s team recently caused a stir with a procedure enabling physicians to see, by means of radiological image data, whether a liver tumor had completely disappeared after treatment. The answers Fraunhofer researchers find are 55 percent more precise than those found by conventional methods.
Together with his colleague, Professor Jörn Kohlhammer, Wesarg now faces a new challenge: the analysis of large databases from radiological examinations. “We have recognized the need of physicians who wish to learn more effectively from the data they collect in their daily treatment routine,” says Kohlhammer. “Our years of research in visual analytics (i.e., in the research discipline that visually presents large amounts of data for decision-makers) now also benefit doctors and, thus, patients, as well.”
With their experience in automatic image analysis, the competence centers under the direction of Wesarg and Kohlhammer are working at high pressure to classify the images taken during radiological examinations. This is how a great number of parameters is gained, which in turn are linked to general patient data, such as age and other conditions. As this procedure may also be used subsequent to already completed treatments, Kohlhammer and Wesarg are developing, in their research project “VA4Radiomics,” a crystal ball for physicians, so to speak. “It is the goal to predict very precisely in the future which will be the best form of treatment to combat the individual tumor of a patient,” explains Wesarg.
Currently, the researchers of Fraunhofer IGD are testing their new approach with clinical partners in Germany. Kohlhammer and Wesarg will present their latest research findings in Chicago at the RSNA 2016 in Hall South A Booth 2565C from November 27th through December 2nd.