The mission of Canon Medical Research USA, Inc. (CMRU) is to provide essential technology and transfer that technology to manufacturing and sustaining teams in other divisions of Canon Medical Systems. This essential technology complements our scientific efforts and occurs at both the system and sub-system level depending on requested work. CMRU’s particular expertise results in numerous design efforts including but not limited to: a full PET system; large bore CT mechanical gantry; high speed rotating data transmission system; CT, XR, and MR image reconstruction systems; non-contrast MR research; MR sequence development environment; detector modules; data acquisition systems; and production functional test environments.
Our CT program is among the best in the world, attracting some of the brightest minds to collaborate and design many of today’s life saving medical devices.
Aquilion™ ONE: World’s first dynamic volume CT system
The CT team was involved early on in the innovative and leading edge multi-slice CT research and development. Our team provided the reconstruction algorithms and computer system for the original 256 slice based field test system. Initial clinical feedback of the “ONE” rotation concept was stretched to become the 320 slice solution that is today sold as the AquilionOne.
Imaging Physics and Reconstruction
Innovation in CT-imaging has been about making it faster, better, cheaper, and safer. Since the early days of CT-imaging, our scientists have been at the forefront, delivering on these developments. In recent years, the team has developed generations of image reconstruction algorithms from iterative reconstruction to deep learning based method that can significantly improve diagnostic image quality while reducing patient dose.
High Performance Computing
Modern CT scanners generates large amount of data that has to be processed in real time. Our team use cutting-edge high-performance computing technologies to develop solutions for data transfer, image reconstruction and post processing. These technologies enable high throughput image generation that is critical in today’s imaging workflow.
The CT detector team is engaged in the development and modeling of advanced CT detectors for both scintillator based and photon counting detectors . Detailed analytical and Monte-Carlo modeling, overall system geometry and X‑ray beam formation as well as physical corrections are critical components of the work being done by the team.
Today, a vastly expanded CMRU CT team is still leading the way on innovative essential technology research aimed at next generation CT systems. Our reconstruction and physics teams are at the forefront of the latest deep learning reconstruction methods that are driving down patient dose, and improve image resolution. Our computer system specialists are researching how to increase computing power by orders of magnitude to effectively utilize new technologies.
In addition to the forward looking CT research teams, CMRU maintains a core team of scientists that are always looking for ways to improve image quality for the current systems in the market place, whether by improving calibration, image reconstruction, or post-reconstruction image processing. Our system, hardware, and software designers are supporting this team by continuously moving the latest solutions to the market place. As Canon’s product line has expanded, so too has the level of this work and the size of our supporting teams at CMRU.
The detector scientists are investigating and optimizing detector designs based on the latest technology in scintillators and light sensors. This effort requires close collaboration with the electronics and FPGA teams to develop appropriate high-speed electronics and implement real-time event processing algorithms. The team also develops techniques for overall system calibration and performance characterization. In addition, the team uses Monte-Carlo modeling of detectors and systems to study design trade-offs for future systems.
The PET reconstruction team is focused on the development and efficient calculation of modern list-mode, time-of-flight, system modeling, and statistical reconstruction methods. Physical corrections, system normalization, efficient projector-backprojector development, Monte-Carlo modeling are also part of the team’s purview. Finally, image quality assessment and overall imaging performance evaluation are important aspects of work being done by the group.
The MR team is involved in many aspects of this fascinating imaging modality. Our work spans both hardware and applications. There is an active RF coil development program, including OEM partners and testing. There is also an extensive applications initiative ranging from developing the sequence platform, including new sequences, enhancements to image quality and MR spectroscopy through to advanced protocol development. Some of the work involves clinical partner and research sites across the world. We are well-known for our world-leading non-contrast angiography capabilities.
The group has an active image reconstruction development and post-processing program. We also have an EM numeric modeling program which straddles both the hardware and application domains in the investigation of optimized RF coils and the investigation of patient safety.
The MR hardware group focuses on RF coils, a key component of the magnetic resonance imaging which receives signals interacting with the human body and determines image quality. Working closely with RF coil suppliers and Canon Medical engineering in Japan, we have introduced head, knee and other array coils for both 1.5T and 3T scanners. Our work expands from basic research and simulation for the next generation RF coils to managing projects integrating third-party products into Canon scanners as well as related technologies such as system level energy deposition control for patient’s safety.
The X‑ray team is charged with improving patient outcomes through innovative developments in vascular imaging using C-arm gantries. We developed an early 3D angiography imaging method for neuro-intervention guidance and assessment, which was later expanded to include low contrast, CT-like imaging of the brain and abdomen. The team has been at the forefront of adapting the latest technologies for outstanding performance to cost reconstructors so that now cone-beam CT imaging is practically real-time. We are also delivering roadmapping functionality to the interventional radiologist to shorten procedures.
Our scientists and engineers continue to research new applications of X‑ray imaging, such as an X‑ray microscope to better see and verify the interventional procedures of coiling and stenting or a method to, for the first time, accurately track dose to the patient in real-time or to apply computational fluid dynamics to predict the possibility of aneurysm rupture.