Duke Unveils National Center for Virtual Imaging Trials
Duke University has unveiled a new center that offers researchers and physicians tools to evaluate the effects of imaging technologies and applications on digital patient models to be used in virtual trials and patient care.
The Duke School of Medicine’s Center for Virtual Imaging Trials (CVIT), directed by Ehsan Samei, a professor in the departments of radiology, physics, biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering, aims to deliver a comprehensive virtual platform to evaluate the clinical performance of medical imaging technologies and platforms without the need for actual testing on trial participants and patients.
Specifically, CVIT leverages biophysical and machine-learning processes to produce virtual patient models. The virtual models can then be used to assess how a range of imaging and therapies may affect trial participants and patients based on disease progression and their specific anatomy, an approach that Samei said offers a “new paradigm” to predict the impact of medical innovations.
“[Virtual clinical trials] offer a new way to conduct experiments in medicine in a way that is ethically, financially and logistically feasible while reflecting the complexities and variabilities of human body and medical technologies,” he said. “They open a new window in medical science and practice.”
While Duke scientists and physicians will use the center for their own research, it will also be open to use by others around the globe. Samei and others involved in the center will provide online training sessions and a monthly international forum series for researchers who are interested.
The center, which is funded by a five-year grant from the NIH awarded in May, is hosted under the Ravin Advanced Imaging Laboratories in the school’s Department of Radiology. It will initially focus on computed tomography imaging.