Digital elasticity imaging tool may map' prostate

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ProUroCare Medical is developing and testing its ProUroScan imaging system to determine if it can map the prostate to identify abnormalities detected by a digital rectal exam (DRE).

The first-generation system will provide a map or record of the pressures that are generated from palpation of the posterior surface of the prostate using a sensor probe, the company said. The system’s operation is based on measurement of the stress pattern on the rectal wall when the probe is pressed against the prostate. Temporal and spatial changes in the stress pattern provide information on the elastic structure of the gland and allow two-dimensional reconstruction of prostate anatomy and visualization of prostate mechanical properties.

The data acquired allow the calculation of prostate features such as size and shape. The prostate image is displayed on a screen that allows physicians to visualize tissue abnormalities in the prostate gland. In addition to the real-time visual image, the results are stored electronically.

The ProUroScan is currently in a multi-site U.S. clinical study to be completed later this year, according to the Minneapolis-based company. The study is focusing on patients with unfavorable DREs, as the device is intended to become a complement to that standard assessment.

According to the results published in a 2008 Urology article, a ProUroScan map of the prostate gland has been successfully created for more than 80 percent of individuals who have been imaged, the company said.