The QTscan is a new non-invasive breast imaging tool, FDA cleared as an adjunct to mammography. At this time, it is not intended as a replacement for screening mammography. Transmission ultrasound together with reflection ultrasound provide highly complementary and synergistic information about breast tissue, which enables radiologists to make better decisions about breast health.
What makes this emerging technology important is that the QTscan’s ‘transmission’ imaging is quantitative in nature, and thus provides us with critical information which is unique and distinct for each tissue type. This may allow doctors to better assess breast health.
In a QTscan, images are generated using both reflection and transmission modalities. Our transmission ultrasound developments in hardware and imaging algorithms have enabled marked improvements in spatial resolution and clinical utility. It has been shown that transmission ultrasound can be used to characterize findings in the busy breast.
The ability to perform this evaluation is largely due to both the fact that the speed of sound is directly related to the bulk and shear modulus of the material and the fact that the structural changes to the tissue that arise from various pathologies affect the bulk modulus. This relationship suggests that direct speed-of-sound measurements have the potential to discriminate various pathologies, including those that exhibit some type of calcification. The QT technology can detect objects as small as 50 µm.
Conventional breast imaging modalities, such as mammography, face tremendous challenges when imaging dense breast tissue, which puts women with dense breasts – nearly half the population – at an immediate disadvantage. This is because cancer can appear similar to regular breast tissue and if there is a lot of breast tissue (such as in the case of dense breasts), the cancer can ‘hide’. Our QT technology has the ability to image through dense breasts, and our ongoing clinical trials aim to confirm how the QTscan can effectively detect suspicious regions.
Published scientific papers provide details on these findings and additional data on transmission ultrasound.