Breast cancer remains the most common cause of death for women below seventy years of age. In Europe, one in ten women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Early diagnosis is recognised as a critical factor that can improve the chance of survival. X-ray mammography is currently considered best practice for screening and early diagnosis of breast carcinoma. However, a significant number of breast cancers remain undetected when using conventional 2D mammography imaging, due to insufficient soft tissue contrast and the effect of overlying anatomical structures.
A method that combines the advantages of the phase contrast imaging and digital breast tomosynthesis may result in high contrast tomograms with well outlined breast cancer margins.
This project will aim to develop, test and validate a three-dimensional reconstruction algorithm for phase contrast digital breast tomosynthesis. The overall objective will be pursued through the following specific objectives that will be addressed in a number of highly innovative tasks of design, modelling, numerical simulations and experimental work: (a) Development of a simulation tool for generation of phase contrast images over limited angular range; (b) Development of a three-dimensional algorithm for phase contrast breast tomosynthesis; (c) Validation and further refinement of the algorithm with computer models of ground truth phantoms as well with physical phantoms that will be exploited at laboratory environment.
The availability of three-dimensional reconstruction algorithms dedicated for phase contrast breast tomosynthesis will provide a possibility to study the potential of this novel technique to enhance contours of different breast soft tissues, thus resulting in clearly visible three dimensional soft tissue morphology.
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