Advanced ultrasound technology for earlier tumour diagnosis

10th September 2014


Advanced Ultrasound technology, designed by Wadham Fellow David Edwards, is to be developed in a new partnership between Oxford’s Isis Innovation and Canada’s Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialisation.

  • Images of a sheep kidney into which saline had been injected. Left: picture of the kidney with circle showing injection site. Centre: an ultrasound image. Right: ultrasound image with EMA overlaid showing a strong signal in the location where the saline was injected.

The enhanced ultrasound imaging technology provides clearer images and better tissue type characterisation making earlier tumour diagnosis possible.

Isis Innovation, the technology transfer arm at the University of Oxford and Canada’s Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization (CIMTEC) have announced a partnership to jointly develop and test a new enhanced ultrasound imaging technology.

Wadham’s Fellow and Tutor in Engineering, Professor David Edwards, is the principle inventor of the Oxford Electromagnetic Acoustic (OxEMA) technology. Professor Edwards commented: “Our technology uses a combination of electromagnetic and acoustic waves in order to create advanced medical images at a cost comparable to ultrasound. The benefits of this are much greater clarity of image and unparalleled tissue-type characterisation when compared to ultrasound.”

“OxEMA will provide clinicians with MRI-like information using an ultrasound instrument. This will allow quick, accessible and cost-effective diagnosis, particularly for patients in remote areas without easy access to MRI services.”

The OxEMA system can radically improve identification of tumours and other anomalous tissue, which is not currently possible with standard ultrasound technology. It has the potential to enable earlier diagnosis and more accurate treatment of conditions such as prostate and liver cancer.

Isis Innovation has been leading the commercialisation of the OxEMA system, and has engaged with CIMTEC to develop the technology further through a new startup, Enhanced Medical.

Tom Hockaday, Managing Director of Isis Innovation, said, “We are pleased to have entered into a unique relationship with CIMTEC, who are extremely well placed to advance the Oxford technology.”

Amol Karnick, CEO of Enhanced Medical said, “Through discussions with several physicians about our technology and its potential, they have confirmed that improving biopsy targeting using ultrasound is a significant clinical need. OxEMA is well-positioned to solve this clinical problem, and will be able to improve outcomes for patients and hospitals using it. I am confident that the partnership with CIMTEC will accelerate our development and bring OxEMA to market earlier.”

David Edwards is also founder director of Oxford Electromagnetic Solutions Ltd (OXEMS) which specialises in satellite tracking and marine radar positioning.