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IMaging PROstate cancer using ViscoElastic biomarkers and a novel transurethral viscoelastic elastography procedure

Project description

Tissue viscoelasticity as a diagnostic biomarker of prostate cancer

Changes in mechanical properties such as viscoelasticity of biological soft tissues can be monitored using non-invasive imaging technology. Prostate cancer is characterised by higher stiffness compared to benign prostate tissue and that changes the propagation of shear waves. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the IMPROVE project seeks to identify biomechanical biomarkers for prostate cancer diagnosis. Researchers will employ the transurethral shear wave viscoelastic elastography method to associate changes in the viscoelastic properties of the prostate with prostate cancer diagnosis features. They will produce a 3D anatomically realistic wave propagation model of the prostate and use AI for image reconstruction. Collectively, IMPROVE activities will pave the way for a novel approach to prostate cancer diagnosis.


IMPROVE aims to demonstrate the potentiality of Transurethral Shear Wave Viscoelastic Elastography (TUSWAVE) for ‘improving’ the diagnosis of Prostate Cancer (PCa) by identifying it through a new set of biomarkers based on the fractional viscoelastic properties of the prostate. TUSWAVE is a novel concept based on the transmission and reception of shear waves in the prostate through the urethra. Most prostatic tumours are stiffer than normal surrounding tissue, which perturbs the propagation of shear waves. The perturbed waves carry information about the location and changes in the viscoelastic properties of the tumours. IMPROVE aims to further study the correlation between diagnosis features of prostate cancer, such as grade, stage and vascularisation, with shear fractional viscoelastic properties of the prostate, i.e. the shear modulus, the shear viscosity and the fractional-order parameter. To achieve IMPROVE’s goal three main work packages are proposed. First, the development of a 3D anatomically realistic wave propagation model validated in ex vivo human prostate; second, the characterisation of the fractional viscoelastic properties of prostatic tissue under different pathological conditions using Shear Wave Elastography and validated against independent techniques; and finally, the development of a preliminary Artificial Intelligence-based image reconstruction method for TUSWAVE. A large database of prostate cancer clinical scenarios will be generated using the data from the characterisation study and the 3D wave propagation model. This database will be used to train and test the image reconstruction method. Prostate-like phantoms will be used to test the performance of the image reconstruction method. IMPROVE will take TUSWAVE towards a pre-clinical studies stage. IMPROVE is aligned with the mission area 'cancer' set on Horizon Europe.

Funding Scheme



Net EU contribution
€ 181 152,96
Cuesta del hospicio sn
18071 Granada

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Sur Andalucía Granada
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
No data

Partners (1)