Using advanced ultrasound spectrum analysis methods, coupled with sophisticated classification tools, Riverside Research is breaking new ground in the detection, evaluation, treatment planning, and monitoring of prostate cancer. Our signal-processing method for determining tissue type—which involves analyzing ultrasound echo-signal data and classifying tissue based on analysis results—produces tissue-type images (TTIs) that visually render tumors to a degree not attainable by any other existing clinical imaging method. For instance, scientists and engineers at the Lizzi Center for Biomedical Engineering were able to generate vivid 3D TTIs of a cancer-containing prostate gland (shown above in two separate views). The red mass (clearly seen in each view) causing the anterior of the prostate gland to bulge is an occult 12-mm tumor. This tumor was confirmed by post-surgical histology, but it was not visible in any other pre-surgical image.
The limitations of conventional imaging methods prohibit focal treatment because of their inability to reliably display the locations of cancerous regions; therefore, the entire gland must be treated. However, the TTI methods developed by scientists at the Lizzi Center for Biomedical Engineering are paving the way for guided biopsies and targeted treatment, leaving untreated as much healthy tissue as possible. With funding support from the National Institutes of Health, our scientists now are incorporating these methods into a commercially produced ultrasound instrument for treating prostate diseases that may lead to revolutionary new means of focally treating prostate cancer.