Parks Professor Andrew Hall Awarded Grant from Siemens Medical Solutions in Collaboration with Interventional Radiologist at SLU’s School of Medicine

March 18, 2016
Biomedical Engineering, Parks College News, Research

hallgrant458wAndrew Hall, D.Sc. & Kirubahara Vaheesan, M.D.

Andrew Hall, D.Sc., Assistant Professor in biomedical engineering (BME), and Kirubahara Vaheesan, M.D., Director of Interventional Radiology, were awarded grant money from Siemens Medical Solutions to research techniques to better image and navigate catheters to the tiny arteries in the prostate.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common condition in older men, for whom an enlarged prostate may lead to lower urinary tract symptoms. More than 15 million men in the United States are struggling with symptoms, resulting in more than $3 billion in treatment costs. A new minimally invasive treatment method consists of navigating a tiny catheter to the prostate gland, and then releasing an embolic agent, to ultimately shrink the gland.

Navigating from the iliac artery to the prostate gland, which is needed to perform embolization of the prostate and treat BPH, is extremely challenging. This is due to the facts that there are many arteries in the pelvic region, many of which are only one millimeter in size, and that the vascular anatomy varies greatly from person to person.

This research sets out to establish an optimized imaging and navigation protocol which could significantly reduce the procedure time required to identify the path and also eliminate paths leading to non-target embolization. Optimization could also reduce patient radiation dose and contrast dose. This project aims to optimize the imaging component, both pre-operative (in the CT scanner) and intra-operative (in the Angiography lab), as well as the navigation component of the procedure (i.e. visualizing the path to the followed by the catheter on the live fluoroscopic display).

In this study, Hall plans to accomplish this improved imaging through the iterative evaluation of patient imaging data as well as custom-built, 3D printed models of vascular anatomy. Vaheesan and his team will then translate this to human imaging protocols, with the goal to perform embolization procedures with less patient exposure to radiation and more effective treatment. In addition to the research, these faculty from biomedical engineering and radiology are using their relationship to enhance student education for both BME students and radiology residents. BME students enrolled in Hall’s medical imaging course are observing imaging procedures at the hospital, and radiologists are giving clinical lectures to the class. Additionally, Hall is giving engineering lectures on medical systems to the radiology residents.

The first of its kind, this project creates a relationship between Parks’ Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Interventional Radiology department at SLU School of Medicine. The project also establishes a research relationship with Siemens Medical and, hopefully will be the springboard for many future research collaborations.

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