A Medical Device Daily

SpectraScience (San Diego) said it has been awarded a patent for correcting image misalignment between at least two images in a sequence of images due at least in part to tissue sample movement.

U.S. patent No. 7,406,215 is titled "Methods and systems for correcting image misalignment."

"This is another key patent in our broad patent portfolio that furthers our commitment at SpectraScience to develop better, more reliable cancer screening technologies," said CEO Jim Hitchin.

The patent is important to the company's optical biopsy technology because, in screening for some forms of cancer, the optical response of the tissue is captured in a sequence of images that are characterized by analyzing the time-dependent response of the tissue as recorded in the sequence. During this type of screening, the tissue may move while images are being taken, resulting in a spatial shift within the image frame field, the company said.

Being able to correct for this shift increases the effectiveness of the optical biopsy procedure, SpectraScience noted. The natural movement of the patient, which can occur despite a patient's attempts to remain still, can cause tissue movement during the procedure. This patent provides for an accurate analysis of the sequence of images, which would otherwise be misaligned due to movement of the tissue.

"Accurate imaging is critical to earlier and more effective identification of abnormal, pre-cancerous and/or cancerous tissue, and this invention provides methods of determining a correction for a misalignment in the imaging process that will make our screening devices more powerful to the physician and more important to the patient," Hitchin said.

SpectraScience said it has filed for 60 patents worldwide on its WavSTAT Optical Biopsy System and LUMA Cervical Imaging System that are used to diagnose tissue to quickly determine if it is normal, pre-cancerous, or cancerous.

The WavSTAT and LUMA Systems are FDA approved for detecting pre-cancer and cancer in the colon and cervix, and an evaluation for detection of pre-cancers in the throat ("Barrett's esophagus") is being tested.