Simulating mechanical imaging data through use of virtual clinical trials
The idea in this project is that malignant tumours can be distinguished from benign lesions and normal tissue using "mechanical imaging". Mechanical imaging of the breast is done by measuring the stress at the breast surface as the breast is compressed. Malignant tumours are generally stiffer than normal, benign breast tissue and will result in a higher stress at the breast surface. Knowing which cases are benign or not could help in reducing the number of false positives (cases which are wrongly classified as cancer). It also has potential in reducing the number of women recalled from breast cancer screening.
A time-effective way of researching this topic further is through the use of “virtual clinical trials”. Virtual clinical trials are simulated clinical trials which can be used to simulate anatomy and validate clinical imaging systems. We have used a breast model from a virtual clinical trial software to simulate the compression of the breast, with the goal of simulating mechanical imaging data. As the simulated breast model grows increasingly realistic, we hope it could be used to evaluate and optimize the way mechanical imaging could be used in a clinical setting.