Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriasis arthritis (PSA) are destructive polyarthritic diseases having high incidence rates worldwide of about 1,5% and 0,5% respectively. Arthritis-related joint destruction leads to disabilities which result in a loss of patient’s quality of life, often include an inability to work and significant costs for healthcare systems. The functional outcome is strongly dependent on the time lag between the onset of the disease and the treatment beginning (ideally < 3-6 months). For early diagnosis allowing to improve the course of this devastating disease, sensitive and accurate diagnostic tools are required. Further, excellent image quality is needed for differentiated diagnosis (osteoarthritis vs RA or PSA) permitting the stratification of patient groups required for enabling a personalized therapeutical approach. Therefore, tools for early, precise and reliable diagnosis being affordable for screenings are of highest importance. Within IACOBUS, we suggest a new multimodal approach combining hyperspectral imaging with ultrasound (US) and optoacoustic (OA) techniques for diagnosis of arthritic diseases in finger joints. The proposed concept will allow the diagnosis and monitoring of arthritis based on imaging of early inflammation-induced hyperperfusion. Hyperspectral overview imaging for identification of suspicious joints will be combined with detailed high-resolution 3D imaging of affected joints (OA/US). Osteochondral information will be provided by high-frequency US while OA imaging will allow the high-sensitivity imaging of microvasculature in inflamed tissue. The consortium consisting of 4 SMEs and 3 academic partners will develop a novel non-invasive image-based diagnostic tool with significantly enhanced sensitivity for early arthritis symptoms and thereby allow to make use of the therapeutical window of opportunities. 50% of the overall project budget will go to SMEs which will ensure the exploitation of the developed platform.
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