Innovative Imaging Improves Care

Ordinary chest scans lump together treatable and untreatable lung tissue in fuzzy shades of gray, revealing little information to help patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). But a multidisciplinary team of investigators at our Center for Molecular Imaging, a collaborative effort of radiology, radiation oncology, pulmonary medicine and several other departments, has discovered a way to visualize the previously invisible. Using sophisticated 3-D modeling, their research has led to a precision technique that differentiates between tissue types, revealing areas that can be treated before the damage becomes irreversible. Originally developed at U-M for brain tumors, this revolutionary technique is now being tested for COPD, one of the most fatal diseases in the United States, and holds promise to advance discovery in many other areas.