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March 17, 2004 | Striking 3-D images may soon help researchers at National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., which recently installed the Perspecta Spatial 3D System, from Actuality Systems. Shown here is the 3-D image of a mammogram derived from MRI data. Important features include blood vessels (blue, running up and down) and a possible lesion site (shown in purple).

Biomedical investigators from the Clinical Center and the National Cancer Institute plan to use the system to visualize exact tumor location -- using stored patient data -- for radiofrequency tumor ablation in the liver, and to compare tumor location with treatment location during procedures.

The hope is that Perspecta will eventually be used to provide 3-D imagery of complex structures in the brain, heart, or other parts of the anatomy, helping physicians to better understand a patient's disease and more effectively administer treatment. Perspecta projects images into a globe display to create full 360-degree spatial images. Special goggles are not needed.

Perspecta’s fast rendering makes it possible for a medical researcher to segment, magnify, and in seconds render a CT scan to get a more precise look at a tumor -- a process that used to take as long as 90 minutes. Actuality says Perspecta could provide real-time feedback for cardiac or other minimally invasive procedures or enable a researcher to pan and zoom into complex CT, MRI, and PET scans at interactive rates, making it possible for pioneering work in the fields of surgical planning and guidance.

The technology has been applied to other applications that rely on high-speed 3-D rendering, including computer tomography of luggage for security installations, and military applications such as lidar (light detection and ranging) and sonar. Actuality CEO Cameron Lewis reports systems are being built for seven other customers with shipments scheduled over the next few weeks. Base price is $39,995. (For more on Actuality Systems and its technology, see “The Millennium Dome,” May 2002 Bio-IT World, page 33.)

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