Partnership to explore Image Surgery
The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and T.I.E.S. (standing for tomographic image enhancement systems) a Rochester, New York-based start-up company, are collaborating to evaluate a new medical imaging technology.
T.I.E.S. has patented a new image processing technology called Image Surgery that allows scientists and radiologists to selectively focus on a specific organ or region of the body and, as a result, create clearer and more precise side-by-side images. The company, which is led by two former Kodak imaging systems executives, will work with researchers in the URMC department of Imaging Sciences to apply this technology to images from actual patients. 
“We are delighted to be working with the University of Rochester Medical Center to develop this novel approach to radiological imaging,” said M. Akram Sandhu, PhD, CEO of T.I.E.S.  “The university has a great deal of research strength and expertise in this field and we are looking forward to a very productive research partnership.”
The T.I.E.S.’s imaging technology has the potential to overcome limitations in medical tomography or 3D imaging. Today’s advanced imaging technologies such as gamma cameras, CT, MRI and PET scanners reconstruct images by converting a sequence of two-dimensional images which are captured by a receptor as it rotates around the patient into a three-dimensional image. While these technologies have provided doctors an invaluable view into the human body, the images often contain flaws, the company said.
Radiologist Vaseem Chengazi, MD, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Rochester and chief technology officer of T.I.E.S. said that scanners work very well on images that are not moving. “However, the problem in the human world is that the body is dynamic and not stationary,” said Chengazi. “The body moves and breathes, the heart beats, the bladder accumulates urine, and so on. Consequently, images of these areas of the body are often marked by artifacts or distortions.” 
Additionally, the clarity of a specific image often depends upon the composition of objects that are nearby. These distortions can make it more difficult to spot smaller objects, such as tumors. 
“Radiologists have attempted to compensate for these problems by doing faster scans and then once they have the image they filter it to decrease the artifact,” said Chengazi. “But these artifacts are already ‘baked’ into the image by the process of reconstruction.”
The T.I.E.S. technology segments the raw data before it is converted into an image. This allows radiologists to exclude objects that are not of interest and, heighten the resolution of the remaining target image.
The Image Surgery technology has the potential for broad application in clinical care and biomedical research in fields such as cancer, musculoskeletal conditions and cardiovascular disease. For the research partnership the raw data from the university’s nuclear medicine gamma cameras will be run through the T.I.E.S. software so that scientists can compare it with the image generated using standard technologies. 
The technology is applicable to other types of scanners as well. The company plans to have its first image enhancement product for SPET (single-photon emission tomography) applications commercially available by next year.