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Perspectief Programme ULTRA-X-TREME Granted

Ultrafast Ultrasound Imaging for Extended Diagnosis and Treatment of Vascular Disease (ULTRA-X-TREME)

NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) has announced the new research programmes that will be part of its ‘Perspective for Top Sectors' funding programme. One of the programmes that will be funded is the ULTRA-X-TREME programme, in which new ultrasound techniques will be developed for improved diagnosis of dangerous vascular problems. Michiel Pertijs' Ultrasound ASICs group at the Electronic Instrumentation Laboratory will be responsible for the development of advanced integrated electronics for the high-frame-rate 3D ultrasound probes that will play a key role in this programme.

Vascular problems can be life-threatening. Cerebral infarctions (strokes) are often caused by calcification of the carotid artery and ruptures in the abdominal artery (aortic aneurysms) as a result of a weakening of the arterial wall. Currently, doctors determine the likelihood of both problems simply by measuring the diameter of these arteries. However, this has proved to have only limited predictive value, which means more people than necessary undergo life-threatening treatments and dangerous cases are overlooked.

The ULTRA-X-TREME programme will develop new, highly accurate ultrasound techniques to enable 3D imaging of the arterial walls and blood flow. New transducers, contrast media and analysis techniques will be developed in order to determine much more effectively whether treatment is necessary.

The ULTRA-X-TREME consortium brings together the best Dutch research groups in the field of ultrasound technology and the biomechanics of blood vessels with hospitals and international industry. Within this programme, Michiel Pertijs will work together with Nico de Jong and Martin Verweij (Imaging Physics, Fac. of Applied Sciences) and Hans Bosch (Erasmus MC) on the development of a unique matrix transducer with more than 20,000 elements and integrated electronics, for making 3D echo images with a high volume frame rate.

Programme leader: Prof. dr. ir. C.L. de Korte (Radboudumc and Twente University)

Participants: ANSYS, Bracco Suisse S.A., Catharina hospital, Erasmus MC, Harteraad, Mindray, Nederlandse Vereniging voor Vaatchirurgie (NVVV), Philips Electronics Nederland, Pie Medical Imaging, Radboudumc, Rijnstate hospital, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven, TOMTEC Imaging Systems, Twente University, Vermon S.A., Verasonics

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