Radiology researchers are assessing volumetrics, which would offer them a new solution to provide 3D picture to measure the sizes of potentially cancerous lung nodules. Currently, radiologists measure the sizes of these lung nodules by measuring their largest widths using a 2D computer screen. This procedure method is widely used and it is called RECIST. The results of the study, which would lead to significant imrpovement in digital radiography, are published in Optics Express.
Researching team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is investigation volumetrics. They can be used in simple cancer cases to reveal volume changes, for structures such as potentially cancerous lung nodules, in a significant precise manner than currently provided by 2D screens. The researchers expect that the new technology is going to reduce time required for diagnosis from six months down to four weeks only.
Zachary Levine of NIST and the lead author of the study, said "We found that volumetrics allows you to notice volume changes that are a factor of 10 smaller than RECIST can with a similar level of confidence," he added "This implies that you could notice life-threatening changes from a follow-up scan performed only weeks after the first, instead of months," However, Levine said that this research is just the start. He cautioned that sometimes cancer cells do not appear in the exact same shape of the elliptical pills his team used to mimic and represent tumors. This means that this method of analysis might not work so accurately in more complex cases of cancer. Yet, Levine added that the new method would work for "a large class of lung cancers."