In atherosclerosis, fat accumulates in the arterial walls creating atherosclerotic plaques. Plaques that rupture can cause a stroke or myocardial infarction, and it is important to identify dangerous plaques as early as possible to prevent serious complications.
Diabetes researcher and cardiologist Isabel Goncalves at LUDC is collaborating with ultrasound researchers Tobias Erlöv and Magnus Cinthio at the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University to develop methods that can help identify people who are at risk of developing a stroke because of dangerous plaques. At the Future Innovations Award event in Lund on November 7th, they were awarded SEK 150,000 in the employee category. Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of atherosclerosis, and this patient group may be helped by the innovation in the future.
“It’s fantastic that we receive this prize for a collaboration where we learn a lot from each other every day. We need these types of collaborations to create innovations that can reach the patients. About a quarter of patients who develop atherosclerotic plaques have diabetes, so this is a group that can be helped by our technology in the future. An advantage of our method is that it is simple, inexpensive, non-invasive, and doesn't use radiation,” says Isabel Goncalves, professor of cardiology at Lund University and senior consultant at Skåne University Hospital (SUS).
The researchers are developing a software based on ultrasound technology. With the help of the technique, it is possible to carry out detailed examinations of atherosclerotic plaques in the blood vessels of the neck. The software is being developed by Tobias Erlöv and Magnus Cinthio, researchers in biomedical engineering at the Faculty of Engineering. They hope that their method can improve the clinical assessment of patients at high risk of developing a stroke. One disadvantage of current ultrasound techniques is the inability to distinguish the composition of tissue.
“We are building software that we hope can be used even at early disease stages. Our hope is that our method will reduce suffering for patients and help the healthcare system to save on costs,” says Tobias Erlöv, researcher in biomedical engineering at LTH.