The QUSTom interview series aims to introduce readers to the people behind our research. Meet Cristina Durán, Chief Operations Officer of FrontWave Imaging and a vital figure within this project.

What is your profession and how did you get to QUSTom?

I started out in the world of Chemical Engineering, but soon after getting my degree, I took a detour into project management. I found myself working with various research centers across Europe as project manager, and that became my thing for nearly a decade.
But then, about seven years ago, I decided to switch gears. I got into helping startups navigate the tricky waters of funding, tech development, and understanding market dynamics. My main focus has been Health and medical device startups ever since.

Fast forward to today – it’s been almost two years since I joined FrontWave Imaging. What’s cool is that I jumped on board right when the QUSTom project was kicking off. It’s been a wild ride, and I’ve been able to bring all my experience to the table to help make it happen.

What is your role within QUSTom?
In the QUSTom project, my role primarily revolves around Regulatory tasks, and I play a pivotal role in supporting our Clinical partner as we work on developing the Clinical Study. I keep a close eye on the technical development aspects, ensuring that our products align seamlessly with the stringent clinical requirements we need to meet.

In your opinion, what do you consider to be the distinctive element of QUSTom compared to other projects developing techniques against breast cancer

QUSTom combines two innovative technologies that complement each other to help the breast cancer diagnosis.

On the one hand, the hardware developed by our partner KIT is the first Ultrasound Computed Tomography device acquiring data in 3D; and FrontWave has developed a software based on advanced algorithms capable of running completely on the cloud and use the 3D data acquire by the USCT.

This achievement is only possible thanks to a very well balanced consortium, with an exceptional team of experts from the different fields working together towards a shared goal.

What does QUSTom mean to you?

QUSTom, to me, represents hope, a possibility of having a new diagnostic tool that can be used for women of all ages without radiation exposure. It’s a tool that can enhance early diagnosis specially for women with dense breast tissue, requiring fewer tests and providing more reliable results, all thanks to advanced algorithms that produce high-quality, high-resolution images of breast tissues. Early diagnosis significantly improves the chances of recovery.
Furthermore, QUSTom exemplifies the benefits of collaborative research between public and private institutions, demonstrating the positive impact that European research projects can have on society.

How do you like it so far?

While it’s true that the project has experienced a slight delay, I have full confidence that we are navigating the right course and making the necessary decisions to ensure the project’s completion with the utmost excellence. This commitment extends not only to technical aspects but also to maintaining the highest clinical standards. We are taking measured and secure steps to guarantee the quality of our data and results, ultimately paving the way for future exploitation and success.

What do you hope QUSTom can achieve beyond the life of the project?

I’m genuinely optimistic that our collaboration among partners will endure well beyond the project’s timeline. Our shared aspiration is for this innovative diagnostic tool to materialize and make a positive difference in European hospitals in the years to come. It’s a vision we’re wholeheartedly committed to achieving together.