Cartilage researcher wins first prize


Paola Coan, PhD student in the ESRF Imaging Group (ID17), received last week the 1st prize for the best scientific paper of the session "Physics in Radiology" at the 12th European Congress of Radiology for her study on cartilage. Her research using the Diffraction Enhanced Imaging (DEI) technique has proven more successful than conventional techniques in the detection of damage on to cartilage or bones.

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Photo: Paola Coan

Early visualisation of damage in cartilage disease is still a challenge for current clinical techniques. Paola Coan, who is carrying out her thesis work in collaboration with the University of Jena (Germany), has proven that Diffraction Enhanced Imaging (DEI) provides dramatic gains in contrast over conventional radiography. She imaged pathological and healthy human ankles, toes, and femoral joints at high resolution (pixel size: 46 micrometres) using DEI. This technique generated images that closely resembled the appearance of anatomical tissue structures, whereas conventional X-ray examinations either failed to show the cartilage altogether or its height was not clearly defined.

Paola Coan explains that "DEI provides an unequivocal non-invasive diagnosis of the state of disease of the joint. Therefore, it can be considered a new tool in osteoarthritis research".

She presented her results in the 12th European Congress of Radiology, which was held in Vienna (Austria) and brought together 16000 researchers from 90 different countries. Selection criteria for the prize, which consisted of 1500 euros and a certificate, included the quality of the abstract, the oral presentation and the scientific content.