The European QUSTom project, coordinated by the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), has completed the recruitment of volunteer patients for its clinical validation phase at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona.

Over a period of six weeks, 59 women aged between 50 and 69, who are participants in the hospital’s early breast cancer detection programme, collaborated in the project. After undergoing mammograms at the hospital, they were invited to pioneer the use of the 3D Ultrasound Computed Tomography Scanner (3D USCT III), designed and built by the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) in Germany, one of the QUSTom project partners. This device has been tested in clinical trials for subsequent validation using 3D imaging.

This new technique, which could revolutionise breast tumour diagnosis, is a radiation-free technology that offers a complete image from a functional and multi-parametric perspective. “This new diagnostic tool will provide a more comprehensive image from a functional and multi-parametric perspective, avoiding the use of ionising radiation and improving the comfort of women during their annual radiological examination, with the aim of early detection of breast cancer”, highlights Ana María Rodríguez Arana, head of the Women’s Radiology Service at Vall d’Hebron Hospital and principal investigator at the Molecular Medical Imaging group at Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR).

The next step involves the reconstruction of the 3D images using the obtained data, which have been transferred to MareNostrum 5, a supercomputer at BSC. With the aid of UBIware software from FrontWave Imaging and Imperial College London, high-quality digital twins will be generated and subsequently reviewed and validated by the hospital’s doctors.

About the QUSTom Project

QUSTom aims to introduce a new modality of medical imaging based for the first time on 3D tomographic ultrasound and supercomputing. This new technology will be completely harmless for patients as it does not use radiation, offering superior image quality and better monitoring of tumours, among other benefits.

This technology can be particularly beneficial for women with dense breast tissue, which is more difficult to diagnose with current techniques and affects 40% of women worldwide.

The QUSTom consortium includes BSC, Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR), FrontWave Imaging, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Arctur, and Imperial College London as an associate partner.