imaging, fewer surgeries?<p>​Ovarian cancer is the fifth-leading cause of death among women in the U.S. Since there is no effective screening option, surgical removal of the ovaries is often performed if a suspicious ovarian mass is found or if a woman is thought to be at high risk based on family history or genetic predisposition. A team of engineers and physicians at Washington University in St. Louis plan to shape our understanding of the best timing in a woman's life to undergo these potentially life-saving surgeries, without detriment to quality of life.<br/></p><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/Zhu_fig5[4]_2019.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>With a five-year, $2.55 million, multi-investigator grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Cancer Institute, Quing Zhu, professor of biomedical engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering, will work with a team of Washington University School of Medicine physicians, including Andrea Hagemann, MD, associate professor of obstetrics & gynecology; Cary Siegel, MD, professor of radiology; and Matthew Powell, MD, chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology and professor of obstetrics and gynecology; to add an imaging method to the current standard of care for women at high risk for ovarian cancer. Using an innovative combined photoacoustic and ultrasound technology (PAT/US) Zhu and her team developed, they will conduct a clinical study to determine whether the technology will better detect and determine whether an ovarian mass is cancerous or benign, therefore improving current clinical practice. </p><p>The study will include two groups of women: those at risk for ovarian cancer due to a suspicious ovarian mass or family history, as well as women who have a deleterious mutation of the ovarian cancer genes, for example, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, shown to have a high risk of breast and ovarian cancers. The standard of care for women at high risk for ovarian cancer had traditionally been regular transvaginal ultrasound every six months and blood tests for the cancer antigen CA 125. However, ultrasound is not very effective at identifying early-stage disease, and CA 125 is not specific because some patients who have ovarian cancer may not have increased CA 125 levels. </p><p>"Current standard of care for women with the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations is to have the ovaries removed between ages 35-45 because of the high risk of ovarian cancer," Zhu said. "So this is a very desperate group of women who really want to find a screening method that gives them the assurance that they don't have cancer. Most of them who have their fallopian tubes and ovaries removed at a younger age for risk-reduction find out they are normal or benign. We hope our technique can help individualize guidelines for risk-reduction surgeries to improve patient quality of life without sacrificing cancer detection." </p><p>Powell, one of the principal investigators of the study, said standard imaging is not effective at distinguishing benign cysts from cancerous cysts in the ovaries. </p><p>"There really is a need for new imaging," he said. "We've been looking at ultrasound screening for ovarian cancer for 30 years and have seen slight hints that it might be helpful. But the technology is not advanced enough, and the concern is that it has caused as much harm as it has helped because we have to operate on so many patients." </p><p>The study stems from positive results in a 2017-2018 <a href="/news/Pages/Hopeful-technology-could-change-detection-diagnosis-of-deadly-ovarian-cancer.aspx">pilot study</a> when Zhu and the team tested the co-registered PAT/US. She and members of her lab created a sheath with optical fibers that wraps around a standard transvaginal ultrasound probe used to take images of ovaries suspected to be cancerous. The light from the laser propagates, gets absorbed by the tumor and generates sound waves, revealing information about the tumor vasculature and blood oxygen saturation (sO2) inside the ovaries made visible by the ultrasound. In the pilot study, the PAT/US technology identified invasive ovarian cancers based on higher levels of relative total hemoglobin (rHbT) and lower sO2 than benign and normal ovaries. </p><p>In the new study, Zhu and her team will use the PAT/US technology to get a detailed look at the blood vessels and sO2 in the ovaries of about 250 patients at the School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital who are at risk for ovarian cancer or have the deleterious genetic mutation in one of the ovarian cancer genes. The team will enroll women who are within a few months of having surgery to remove their ovaries and high-risk women who have risk-reduction surgery within two years. For high-risk patients, the team will follow the patients every six months for up to two years to evaluate the ovarian lesion vasculature and sO2 changes to determine if the PAT/US can be used as an effective screening tool for early detection of ovarian cancer. The radiology and gynecology clinical trial offices will work together on patient recruiting and regulatory support.</p><p>"Our pilot study was well tolerated, and patients were very accepting of it," Powell said. "We can get the new technologies, but patients have to be willing to help other people. It may not affect how we treat them, but hopefully, it will affect patients in the future."</p><p>In addition, Zhu and her team plan to develop a machine-learning algorithm to recognize patterns, both benign and malignant. </p><p>"I hope that this technology will become one that helps these women and gives them some assurance with good accuracy that they can rely on," Zhu said. "It's very rewarding to see how an engineer developing technology can benefit a patient down the line." </p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN><br/> <span> <div class="cstm-section"><h3>Quing Zhu<br/></h3><div><p style="text-align: center;"> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Quing-Zhu.aspx"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Zhu_Quing_15.jpeg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-4" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/></a> <br/></p><div style="text-align: center;"><div style="text-align: center;"> Quing Zhu is a pioneer of combining ultrasound and near infrared (NIR) imaging modalities for clinical diagnosis of cancers and for treatment assessment and prediction of cancers.</div> <br/> <a href="/Profiles/Pages/Quing-Zhu.aspx">View Bio</a><br/></div></div></div></span>Images of a patient in the pilot study. Image C (lower left) shows the coregistered ultrasound/photoacoustic tomography image taken with Zhu's technique. Image F shows the oxygen saturation in the white box in Photo C. Beth Miller 2020-01-01T06:00:00ZA new study at Washington University School of Medicine will add an imaging method developed in the McKelvey School of Engineering to the current standard of care for women at high risk for ovarian cancer.<p>​Ovarian cancer study will use innovative photoacoustic and ultrasound technology<br/></p> McKelvey Engineering stories of 2019<img alt="top 10 news" src="/news/PublishingImages/top%2010%20stories%202019.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div class="newsauthor"><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/131101_sjh_jim_mckelvey_53.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px; width: 120px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/New-era-in-engineering-to-begin-at-Washington-University.aspx" style="outline: 0px;">1. New era in engineering to begin at Washington University</a><br/></h3></div><div><div data-queryruleid="00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000"><div data-displaytemplate="WebPageItem"><div>The School of Engineering & Applied Science was renamed the James McKelvey School of Engineering in honor of trustee and distinguished alumnus Jim McKelvey Jr., who made an unprecedented and transformative investment in the school.<br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newsauthor"><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/jaa_east_end_0082-760x507.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/East-End-Transformation-dedicated.aspx" style="outline: 0px;">2. East End Transformation dedicated</a><br/></h3></div><div><div data-queryruleid="00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000"><div data-displaytemplate="WebPageItem"><div><div class="newsauthor">New campus area focuses on innovative, sustainable design and future reuse.<br/></div></div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Biswas_lab_4550.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Biswas-elected-to-National-Academy-of-Engineering.aspx" style="outline: 0px;">3. Biswas elected to National Academy of Engineering</a> <br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Selected for research in aerosol dynamics, particle removal technologies, Pratim Biswas, the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Professor, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, considered one of the highest honors in the field of engineering.<br/><br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><br/></div><div class="newsauthor"><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"><img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Rudy_Yoram.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/></h3><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"><a href="/news/Pages/rudy-named-to-national-academy-of-inventors.aspx">3. Rudy named to National Academy of Inventors</a><br/></h3> Yoram Rudy, along with a faculty member from the School of Medicine, were named to the National Academy of Inventors.<br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"></h3><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/silent%20send%20noise.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/When-WiFi-is-weak-send-noise-instead.aspx">4. When WiFi is weak, send noise instead</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Recognizing wireless noise can be key to sending information, researchers find.<br/><br/></div><div class="newsauthor"> <br/> </div><div class="newsauthor"> <br/> </div><div class="newsauthor"> <br/> </div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/Profiles/PublishingImages/Jun_Young-Shin.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Using-bacteria-to-create-a-water-filter-that-kills-bacteria.aspx">5. Using bacteria to create a water filter that kills bacteria</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Srikanth Singamaneni and Young-Shin Jun's research on a new water-filtering membrane was the cover story of the Jan. 2, 2019 issue of Environmental Science & Technology.<br/></div></div> <br/> </div></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/rendered.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Multi-institutional-team-to-study-effects-of-age,-gender-on-brain-injury-mechanics.aspx">6. Multi-institutional team to study effects of age, gender on brain injury mechanics</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Study's breadth encompasses often-overlooked group: domestic abuse victims.<br/></div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Flame.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px; width: 120px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Flame-design-in-space-may-lead-to-soot-free-fire.aspx">7. Flame design in space may lead to soot-free fire</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">The International Space Station will provide a lab for an experiment that hopes to settle fundamental question about soot and combustion.<br/></div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div> <br/> </div><div><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Tumor_Growth_3D_CancerResearch_2017.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/Imaging-technology-could-better-monitor-tumor-growth-drug-effectiveness.aspx">8. Imaging technology could better monitor tumor growth, drug effectiveness</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Using a novel imaging technology, Chao Zhou plans to improve on an existing imaging method that will give researchers more insight into the effects of drug candidates on tumor models.<br/></div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"> <br/> </div><div class="newscaption" style="line-height: 1.5;"><h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/new%20faculty%202019.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/New-faculty-join-McKelvey-School-of-Engineering.aspx">9. New faculty join McKelvey School of Engineering</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">Ten new faculty joined the McKelvey School of Engineering, bringing the total number of full-time faculty to more than 140, including 98 tenured and tenure-track faculty. <br/> <br/> <br/> <br/> <h3 style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/noise.jpg?RenditionID=3" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin: 5px 20px;"/> <a href="/news/Pages/New-fundamental-limit-to-seeing-and-believing-in-imaging.aspx">10. New, fundamental limit to ‘seeing and believing’ in imaging</a><br/></h3><div class="newsauthor">As researchers probe smaller parts of our world, the resulting images may not always show the full picture.<br/></div> <br/> <br/> <br/> </div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><div class="cstm-section"><h4 class="ms-rteElement-H4B" style="text-align: center;">#mckelveyengineering<br/> top social media<br/> posts of the year</h4> <span><hr/></span> <div><p> <strong>facebook:</strong><strong> </strong><a href="">Happy Women in Construction Week!</a><br/></p><p> <strong>twitter:</strong><strong> </strong><a href="">Summer Engineering Fellowship program inspired a love of research in Andrew Whitaker, junior in BME.</a><br/></p><p> <strong>instagram: </strong><a href="">WashU Racing unveils their new ride! 🏁</a><br/></p></div></div><div class="cstm-widget expand"><h3 class="icon-link"> <a href="#">2020 Research Calendar</a></h3><div><p style="text-align: center;"> <a href="/our-school/leadership/offices/marketing-communications/Documents/Engineering%20calendar%202020.pdf"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Calendar-2020.jpg" alt="" style="margin: 5px; width: 135px;"/></a> <br/> <a href="/our-school/leadership/offices/marketing-communications/Documents/Engineering%20calendar%202020.pdf">Download PDF</a><br/></p></div></div><div class="cstm-widget expand"><h3 class="icon-link"> <a href="#">Desktop Calendar Images</a></h3><div><p style="text-align: center;"> <a href=""> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/March%202020.jpg" alt="" style="margin: 5px; width: 116px;"/></a> <br/> <a href="">Download</a><br/></p></div></div>2019-12-10T06:00:00ZMcKelvey engineers continued their strong research tradition in 2019. These are 10 stories that had the most impact and reach in 2019.<p>McKelvey<span style="font-size: 20px;"> engineers continued their strong research tradition in 2019. Here are 10 stories that had the most impact and reach in 2019:</span><br/></p> with the push of a button<img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/jaff-with-button-device.jpg?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><p>It's a simple question: How can institutions provide help for people considering suicide?</p><p>For Evin Jaff, a first-year student majoring in biomedical engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering, the solution arrived the way many things do nowadays: through Amazon. </p><p>After losing a friend to suicide in his sophomore year of high school, he wanted to design a solution that could help prevent future deaths. He'd noticed within his own community that teens had a need for proper mental health resources but weren't taking advantage of offered services. Inspired by Amazon's Dash button technology, Jaff developed a product that connects at-risk individuals with the resources they need with the push of a button.</p><p>And while his original motivation was suicide prevention, he soon realized that his device could help many more. </p><p>"I came in with a very specific idea of suicide prevention, because that's hit closest to me," Jaff said. "But when I thought it through, I realized it's really just about getting help. People need help for a lot of different reasons, and you can have a button that does that all in one."</p><p>The device uses an API provided by Twilio, a cloud communications service, to connect callers with a resource hotline. Currently, the button acts as an intermediary; when callers press the button, it uses what Jaff calls "server magic" to call their phone from the hotline, similar to teleconferencing services. Once the two calls are live, the service unites them. </p><p>Until recently, connecting callers directly to a hotline in the absence of Wi-Fi was one of Jaff's biggest challenges; but the product has attracted interest from industry leaders and he was encouraged to continue working on the project. He recently started developing a version of his framework on an updated prototype of an AT&T-produced button, which works through more reliable cellular service. He's pushing to have a version of the button with an integrated microphone.</p><p>"That's the most exciting development ahead," he said. "Having the microphone would allow the button to be its own cell phone, making access to a crisis hotline extremely convenient."</p><p><img src="/news/PublishingImages/Pages/help-with-the-push-of-a-button/jaff-button-device.jpg?RenditionID=1" alt="jaff-button-device.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin: 5px;"/>In November, Jaff and his product were highlighted at the Creator's Gallery, hosted by the Skandalaris Center for Interdisciplinary Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He credits the Skandalaris Center with helping him continue to move forward with the product. </p><p>"I think the biggest difference between high school and developing it at WashU is that there's a lot of smart people around here to help me work through some of the harder stuff," Jaff said. Along with his biomedical engineering studies, he's also earning a minor in computer science.<br/></p><p>Jaff admits that he'll need that additional help as the project continues to scale up. So far, he's worked with a network of five to 10 buttons; however, he's now focusing on improving the efficiency of the button so the network functions better under the stress of a campus-size network of 5,000 to 5,000 devices.</p><p>That hasn't limited Jaff's hopes for the product. He'd love for every person in the country to receive a device. Since starting development on it, Jaff has worked with counselors and mental health experts who specialize in suicide prevention, including the Jed Foundation, to ensure the efficacy and safety of the product.</p><p>"Since it's for getting help — with my initial intention being suicide prevention — it's really important that everybody has one," Jaff said. "If you just give it to people who need it the most, then that would single the person out. If everybody has it, it's no big deal for you to carry it around on your keyring."</p><p>Jaff's entrepreneurial spirit hasn't slowed since coming to WashU. Even if his button device doesn't continue forward, he's already got new ideas he's ready to develop. </p><p>"I'm willing to follow this where it goes," he said. "If it turns out that this isn't going to be a successful product, I still love entrepreneurship. I love product development. I will totally move on to the next great idea and try and figure that out."<br/></p>Evin Jaff, a first-year student majoring in biomedical engineering, began development of his button device in high school. Below, Jaff's button device. Submitted photosDanielle Lacey2019-12-03T06:00:00ZEvin Jaff, a first-year Engineering student, has developed a device to connect people with the mental-health resources they need.,-partner-universities-offer-collaborative-undergraduate-education-program.aspx1208McKelvey School of Engineering, partner universities offer collaborative undergraduate education program <img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/DSC00384.JPG?RenditionID=1" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis has teamed with three partner universities in Asia to offer undergraduate students from each school the opportunity to study and to broaden their research experience at WashU. </p><p>In the 3+1+X program, undergraduate students from Tsinghua University, Shandong University and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) who have completed three years of study would have the opportunity to study at Washington University for their fourth year, then have the option to remain at Washington University to complete a one-year master's degree or to begin doctoral studies. Likewise, Washington University students have the same opportunity to attend one of the three universities in Asia for their fourth year and remain for an optional master's or doctoral degree. The visiting students would earn a Certificate of International Study from the host university in addition to a bachelor's degree from their home institution.<br/></p><p>The first student to join a 3+1+X program at the McKelvey School of Engineering is Junlong Huang, a student from Tsinghua University. Huang is studying in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering this academic year and is being co-advised by Young-Shin Jun, professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering, and Brent Williams, the Raymond R. Tucker Distinguished InCEES Career Development Associate Professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering. Huang's research focuses on the impacts of cast iron pipes in drinking water distribution system of the UV/Persulfate treatment process. Students from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Shandong University are expected to study at WashU beginning in the 2020-21 academic year. <br/></p><div class="row"><div class="column"></div><div class="column"></div></div><p>"As McKelvey Engineering grows the breadth and depth of its research, we are working to expand our connections to important engineering schools around the globe," said Aaron Bobick, dean and James M. McKelvey Professor. "The 3+1+X program is an innovative approach to fostering great collaboration with key partner universities."</p><p>In addition to the student exchange, the universities plan to host research symposia every one to two years for faculty from each institution, as well as provide visiting scholar opportunities to faculty and doctoral students from each institution. The visiting undergraduate students would have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty from the partner institutions.</p><p> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/3%20plus%201%20plus%20X.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-4" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/> <br/> </p><p> <sub><em>From left: 1) Junlong Huang. 2) Dean Bobick signs an agreement with officials from Tsinghua University in China agreed to the 3+1+X program earlier in 2019. 3) Dean Bobick with Professor Tim Cheng from the School of Engineering at Hong Kong University of Science & Technology.</em></sub><br/></p> <p>"The symposia and visits by partner faculty and doctoral students will enhance the research collaborations between the two institutions, and while it is not mandatory, the hope is that the 3+1+X undergraduate students could be co-advised by faculty from both WashU and the partner institution, further building on the research topics identified in the symposia," said Teresa Sarai, assistant dean for international relations in the McKelvey School of Engineering. <br/></p><p>The McKelvey School of Engineering will team with Tsinghua's internationally prestigious School of Environment, which is among the world's top 20 programs in environmental sciences, specializing in environmental chemistry and microbiology, environmental engineering, and environmental planning and management. Several WashU faculty earned degrees at Tsinghua, including Peng Bai, assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering; Tao Ju, vice dean for research and professor of computer science; and Xuan "Silvia" Zhang, assistant professor of electrical & systems engineering. <br/></p><p>Most departments in the McKelvey School of Engineering will partner with HKUST's School of Engineering. The highly-ranked HKUST is one of the fastest-growing universities in the world. Its School of Engineering is the largest of the four schools within HKUST and was ranked number 18 globally in the QS World University Rankings subject 2019 in Engineering and Technology.<br/></p><p>The partnership with Shandong University will focus primarily on computer science and engineering students from the Taishan College of Shandong University, an elite and highly selective honors college for students in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science. Taishan College serves as a training ground for top-notch students in these basic disciplines. <br/></p><p>"The Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering and the renowned Center for Aerosol Science and Engineering (CASE) have a long-standing relationship with counterparts at Tsinghua University working through the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environmental Partnership (MAGEEP)," said Pratim Biswas, assistant vice chancellor, chair of the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering and the Lucy & Stanley Lopata Professor. "This program will enable the brightest undergraduate students to get engaged in cutting-edge research and provide an opportunity to then move onto doctoral programs at either institution, but working with faculty mentors at both universities."<br/></p> <SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN> <br/>Officials from McKelvey School of Engineering and Hong Kong University of Science & Technology signed an agreement for the new program this fall in Hong Kong.Beth Miller 2019-12-02T06:00:00ZMcKelvey School of Engineering and three partner universities in Asia now offer undergraduate students a unique study and research experience. learning, imaging technique may boost colon cancer diagnosis <p>​<span style="color: #222222; font-size: 16px;">Colorectal cancer is the second most common type of cancer worldwide with about 90% of cases occurring in people 50 or older. Arising from the inner surface, or muscosal layer, of the colon, cancerous cells can penetrate through the deeper layers of the colon and spread to other organs. <span style="color: #222222; font-size: 16px;">Left untreated, the disease is fatal.</span></span><br/></p><img alt="" src="/news/PublishingImages/Zhu_colon_imaging.jpg?RenditionID=2" style="BORDER:0px solid;" /><div id="__publishingReusableFragmentIdSection"><a href="/ReusableContent/36_.000">a</a></div><p>Current colon cancer screening is performed by flexible colonoscopy. The procedure involves visual inspection of the mucosal lining of the colon and rectum with a camera mounted on an endoscope. Abnormal appearing areas are then biopsied for analysis. Although this is the current standard of care, it does have its shortcomings. First, this technique relies on visual detection, but small lesions are hard to detect with the naked eye, and early malignancies are often missed. Second, visual endoscopy can only detect changes in the surface of the bowel wall, not in its deeper layers. <br/></p><p>Quing Zhu, a biomedical engineer in the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, and Yifeng Zeng, a biomedical engineering doctoral student, are developing a new imaging technique that can provide accurate, real-time, computer-aided diagnosis of colorectal cancer. Using deep learning, a type of machine learning, researchers used the technique on more than 26,000 individual frames of imaging data from colorectal tissue samples to determine the method's accuracy. Compared with pathology reports, they were able to identify tumors with 100% accuracy in this pilot study. <br/></p><p>This is the first report using this type of imaging combined with machine learning to distinguish healthy colorectal tissue from precancerous polyps and cancerous tissue. Results appear in advance online publication in the journal <em>Theranostics</em>. <br/></p><p>The investigational technique is based on optical coherence tomography (OCT), an optical imaging technology that has been used for two decades in ophthalmology to take images of the retina. However, engineers in the McKelvey School of Engineering and elsewhere have been advancing the technology for other uses since it provides high spatial and depth resolution for up to 1- to 2-millimeter imaging depth. OCT detects the differences in the way health and diseased tissue refract light and is highly sensitive to precancerous and early cancer morphological changes. When further developed, the technique could be used as a real-time, noninvasive imaging tool alongside traditional colonoscopy to assist with screening deeply seated precancerous polyps and early-stage colon cancers. <br/></p><blockquote>"We think this technology, combined with the colonoscopy endoscope, will be very helpful to surgeons in diagnosing colorectal cancer," said Zhu, the paper's senior author who also is a professor of radiology at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine. "More research is necessary, but the idea is that when the surgeons use colonoscopy to examine the colon surface, this technology could be zoomed in locally to help make a more accurate diagnosis of deeper precancerous polyps and early-stage cancers versus normal tissue."</blockquote><p>Zhu and her team collaborated with Matthew Mutch, MD, chief of colon and rectal surgery; William C. Chapman Jr., MD, a resident in colon and rectal surgery; and Deyali Chatterjee, MD, assistant professor of pathology & immunology, all at the School of Medicine. <br/></p><p>Two years ago, Zeng, the paper's lead author, began using OCT as a research tool to image samples of colorectal tissue removed from patients at the School of Medicine. He observed that the healthy colorectal tissue had a pattern that looked similar to teeth. However, the precancerous and cancerous tissues rarely showed this pattern. The teeth pattern was caused by light attenuation of the healthy mucosa microstructures of the colorectal tissue.  <br/></p><p>Zeng began working with another graduate student, Shiqi Xu, who earned a master's in electrical engineering from McKelvey Engineering in 2019 and is co-first author on the paper, to train RetinaNet, a neural network model of the brain where neurons are connected in complex patterns to process data, to recognize and learn the patterns in the tissue samples. They trained and tested the network using about 26,000 OCT images acquired from 20 tumor areas, 16 benign areas and six other abnormal areas in patient tissue samples. The diagnoses predicted by this system were compared with evaluation of the tissue specimens using standard histology. Pathology residents Zahra Alipour and Heba Abdelal assisted with the comparison. The team found a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 99.7%. <br/></p><p>"The unique part of our system is that we could detect a structural pattern within the image," Zeng said. "Using OCT, we are imaging something that we can find a pattern across all normal tissues. Then we can use this pattern to classify abnormal and cancerous tissue for accurate diagnosis." <br/></p><p>Zhu, Zeng and the team, in collaboration with Chao Zhou, associate professor of biomedical engineering, are now developing a catheter that could be used simultaneously with the colonoscopy endoscope to analyze the teeth-like pattern on the surface of the colon tissue and to provide a score of probability of cancer from RetinaNet to the surgeons. <br/></p><p>"Right now, we can obtain the feedback in 4 seconds," Zeng said. "With further development of computation speed and the catheter, we can provide the feedback to surgeons in real-time," Zeng said. </p><SPAN ID="__publishingReusableFragment"></SPAN><p> </p><p>Zeng Y, Xu S, Chapman W, Li S, Alipour Z, Abdelal H, Chatterjee D, Mutch M, Zhu Q. Real-time colorectal cancer diagnosis using PR-OCT with deep learning. <em>Theranostics</em> 2019; advance online publication. <a href="">doi:10.7150/thno.40099</a>.<br/></p><p>This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01CA151570, R01EB002136, R01CA228047) and Washington University School of Medicine Surgical Oncology Basic Science and Translational Research Training Program grant T32CA009621 from the National Cancer Institute.<br/></p><span> <div class="cstm-section"><h3>Collaborators<br/></h3><div style="text-align: center;"><div> <br/> </div><div><div><div style="text-align: center;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Zhu_Quing_15.jpeg?RenditionID=3" alt="Mark Anastasio" style="margin: 5px;"/> <br/><span style="caret-color: #343434; color: #343434; text-align: center;"><a href="/Profiles/Pages/Pratim-Biswas.aspx"><strong></strong></a><a href="/Profiles/Pages/Quing-Zhu.aspx"><strong>Quing Zhu</strong></a></span><br/></div></div></div><div style="text-align: left;"><ul style="padding-left: 20px; caret-color: #343434; color: #343434;"><li>Pioneer of combining ultrasound and near infrared (NIR) imaging modalities for clinical diagnosis of cancers and for treatment assessment and prediction of cancers<br/></li></ul></div> <br/> <div style="text-align: center;"> <img src="/news/PublishingImages/Yifeng%20Zeng%20IMG_7321.JPG?RenditionID=3" alt="" style="margin: 5px;"/> <span style="caret-color: #343434; color: #343434; text-align: center;"><br/><strong>Yifeng Zeng</strong></span></div></div><div style="text-align: center;"><p>Doctoral student<br/></p></div></div></span><span> <div class="cstm-section"><h3>Media Coverage<br/></h3><div> <strong>Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News: </strong> <a href="">Colon Cancer Diagnosis Improved with Machine Learning Approach</a><br/></div><div> <br/> </div><div> <strong>HealthImaging: </strong> <a href="">Aided by AI, alternative imaging finds colorectal cancer at 100% clip</a><br/></div><div> <br/> </div><div> <strong>HealthData Management: </strong> <a href="">Deep learning identifies colorectal cancer tumors with 100 percent accuracy</a><br/></div><div> <br/> </div><div> <strong>Medindia: </strong> <a href="">Colon Cancer Diagnosis Boosted By Using Imaging Technique</a><br/></div><div><br/></div><div> <strong>ScienceBlog: </strong> <a href="">Machine Learning, Imaging Technique May Boost Colon Cancer Diagnosis</a><br/></div> </div></span>The PR-OCT imaging detected images of colon cancer (top photo) and of normal colon tissue. The green boxes indicate the scores of probability of the predicted "teeth" patterns in the tissue. Beth Miller 2019-11-26T06:00:00ZWashington University in St. Louis engineers and physicians are teaming up to develop a new way to diagnose colorectal cancer using imaging and machine learning.