Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering


“Translational research in image guided clinical interventions” – Talk by Dr.Tharindu De Silva

Written by Samodha Pallewatta.

Translational research is an area that can be introduced as the life blood of science based medicine. It is the process of harnessing knowledge from basic sciences to enhance disease diagnosis, treatment etc. Advances of medical imaging over the past decade, have paved ways to effective translation of computational image-based techniques into the clinic. This has resulted in rapid improvements in the field of image guided interventions, where computer-based systems are used to help the physicians precisely visualize and target the surgical sites. Thus Translation research in image guided clinical interventions has become a widely discussed topic in modern Bio Medical research domain.

On 13th August 2015 Dr.Tharindu De Silva addressed Biomedical Engineering students and graduate studies aspirants of University of Moratuwa on the topic “Translational research in image guided clinical interventions” at an event held at ENTC1. Dr. Tharindu De Silva is a post-doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering Department, working on development of image registration techniques for application in spine surgery and other image guided interventions. His research interests include 3D-2D image based registrations, deformable registration algorithms and validation of these algorithms to make clinical translation feasible.

In his speech Dr. Tharindu De Silva thoroughly explained how clinical translation is achieved in research environment. Here he presented two clinical applications, and discussed about them from problem definition to clinical deployment, highlighting how clinical translation occurs within this process. As his first example, Dr.Tharindu De Silva presented image guided improvements in prostate cancer diagnosis. He explained that, in current method of diagnosis known as unguided prostate biopsy, accuracy of diagnosis is low since random samples drawn from the prostate are tested. The solution to this problem comes from guided prostate biopsy where MR is used to identify suspicious regions of prostate and these regions are mapped onto 3D ultra sound acquisition of the prostate, so that samples drawn from these regions can be examined. He further explained that the main issue that had to be managed was the target motion tracking which is the process of compensation for organ motion between target planning and needle placement. He stated that clinical transition of this product occurred through a technological company that marketed the solution to clinical centers where clinical trials are carried between novel method and traditional method to determine its impact.

As the second example, Dr. Tharindu De Silva presented image guidance in spine surgery. He stated that image guidance is of vital importance in different stages of spine surgery including localization, guidance during surgery and verification after surgery. Among these, localization is the highly critical stage as potential for wrong level surgery is high due to difficulty in localizing target. In the proposed solution patient undergoes CT scan and this CT image is used to accurately indentify vertebrae labels. These labels are projected onto intraoperative radiographs using 3D-2D image registration techniques, so that physicians can use it to verify if there localization is accurate. Dr. Tharindu De Silva mentioned that the clinical translation for this occurred in a slightly different way from the first example as this problem was first identified by the industry, collaborated with research teams to find a solution and translated to clinical domain.

After Dr. Tharindu De Silva presented these two examples, before concluding the talk next 30 minutes was allocated to answer the questions of the audience. Many graduate studies aspirants and Biomedical Engineering students, presented their questions regarding the two applications discussed and of the clinical translation process, which were answered by Dr. Tharindu De Silva. Afterwards, this event which provided Biomedical Engineering students and graduate studies aspirants, a great opportunity to expand their knowledge base, was successfully concluded.