A process to transmit medical images via cellular phones that has been developed by a Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher has the potential to provide sophisticated radiological diagnoses and treatment to the majority of the world’s population lacking access to such technology.
This would include millions in developing nations as well as those in rural areas of developed countries who live considerable distances from modern hospitals.
Prof Boris Rubinsky has demonstrated the feasibility of his new concept that can replace current systems, which are based on conventional, stand-alone medical imaging devices, with a new medical imaging system consisting of two independent components connected through cellular phone technology.
The concept could be developed with various medical imaging modalities. This new technique is described in the latest online issue of the journal, Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS ONE).
Their invention is jointly patented and owned by Yissum, the Hebrew University’s Technology Transfer Company, and by the University of California, Berkeley. Commercialisation efforts will be made by Yissum and by Berkeley’s technology transfer organisation.
According to the World Health Organization, some three-quarters of the world’s population has no access to ultrasounds, X-rays, magnetic resonance images and other medical imaging technology used for a wide range of applications, from detecting tumours to confirming signs of active tuberculosis infections to monitoring the health of developing fetuses during pregnancy.
The conventional medical imaging systems in use today, self-contained units combining data acquisition hardware with software processing hardware and imaging display, are expensive devices demanding sensitive handling and maintenance and extensive user training.
Demonstrating the feasibility of using cell phone technology for medical imaging, the cell phone image seen here is a simulated breast tumour, shown in red.
Photo courtesy Prof Boris Rubinsky