The Human Placenta Project

Barrier to clinical translation of novel ultrasound technologies

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The field of ultrasound imaging has a robust technical research community that develops novel ultrasound technologies that could be applied to placental imaging. However, much of these technological developments never make it to clinical adoption because of a lack of collaboration involving the combination of industry, technical ultrasound researchers, and clinicians. Specifically, the latest clinical ultrasound systems have the ability to incorporate new technological advancements on the front-end side of ultrasound systems (e.g. pulse sequencing, beamforming, raw data processing, etc.), but technical researchers lack proper access to these clinical ultrasound systems to implement their technological advancements that would further allow clinicians to be able to appropriately evaluate these new technologies. Thus, the innovation cycle of new ultrasound technologies is on the order of decades. Compare this to current MRI collaborations between industry, technical researchers, and clinicians. In the MRI field, technical researchers are able to implement and refine new technologies on MRI systems within days and, at the same time, allow clinicians the ability to evaluate the clinical utility of these technologies. Could the NIH facilitate such a collaboration? It is possible. In 1999, the Office of Women's Health and the NCI jointly sponsored a workshop called "Ultrasound Imaging: Infrastructure on Improved Imaging Methods," where technical researchers, industry, clinicians, and government representatives facilitated the development of new infrastructure (RF data capture on clinical ultrasound systems) to move forward technical advancements in ultrasound imaging. This infrastructure had a direct hand in the development of Shear Wave Elastography/Imaging techniques that exist on clinical ultrasound scanners today. A new collaboration between industry, government, technical researchers, and clinicians would allow clinicians to assess new and existing technical advancements (such as high-sensitivity Doppler and ultrasound localization microscopy techniques) that could be applied to placental imaging.

Which theme and set of objectives does your response address? THEME E: Ultrasound

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Idea No. 93