NIH Funds UCI biomedical engineer’s proposed new imaging system
The NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has awarded UC Irvine biomedical engineer Zhongping Chen a $2.6-million four-year grant to build a better imaging system for looking inside the arteries.
Working with Qifa Zhou of USC Viterbi School of Engineering and Pranov Patel of the UCI School of Medicine, Chen proposes to capture the benefits of three sophisticated imaging technologies -- the high resolution of optical coherence tomography, deep tissue penetration of ultrasound imaging and the biomechanical contrast of optical coherence elastography (a technique that maps the elastic properties of soft tissue) – and combine them into a single catheter device. Chen has already combined the first two; this funding will support his efforts to incorporate the third feature into a single imaging probe. The proposed system will provide a cross-sectional visualization of the inside of a patient’s arteries, allowing the clinician to detect the hard-to-see vulnerable plaque that builds up and can suddenly rupture or trigger blood clots.
“Our system will give the physician a powerful tool for imaging, diagnosing and managing early signs of cardiovascular disease,” says Chen, principal investigator for the multi-institute grant. “The technology has many potential biomedical applications and will greatly benefit patients with coronary artery diseases.”