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Is this the END?


Academic year: 2022

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Disruptive Innovations in Medical Imaging:

Is this the END?

Denis Le Bihan

Founding Director, NeuroSpin, Saclay, France

Imagerie diagnostique et interventionnelle.

Progrès et perspectives.

Séance thématique du 5 mai 2021

Académie nationale de Pharmacie


Two mainstreams for medical imaging innovation

- Cumulative process: Progressive, incremental changes in basic knowledge of certain concepts over a long time, until radical change occurs

- Discovery or development of a new concept initially without medical purpose

“Röntgenphotography” plaque published 1896,

"Nouvelle Iconographie de la Salpetriere“

The “radiology” field was created in 1930

Roentgen First Physics Nobel Prize 1901


Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology1979


MRI: Lauterbur & Mansfield, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine2003


Diffusion MRI 1985 (Le Bihan) DTI1992-94 Le Bihan, Basser

Disruptive Innovations :


1905 - Einstein’s “miraculous” year

“On a Heuristic Point of View on the Creation and Conversion of Light”(17 March 1905) Nobel prize in physics, 1921 Nuclear Imaging

“Investigation on the Theory of the Brownian Movement: On the motion of small particles suspended in liquids at rest …”

(11 May 1905) (diffusion theory)

Diffusion MRI

“On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” (30 June 1905)

“Does the inertia of a body depend on its energy content?”

(27 September 1905) (Theory of Special Relativity) PET

“The Field Equations of Gravitation” (25 November 1915)

The relativist brain (Le Bihan D. BrainMultiPhysics 2020)

Albert Einstein, Circa 1905



Understanding LCT+++

- To predict the ability to recoverdevelopment investment - To predictwhen to plan new projects

- To estimatefuture developments - To decide whether or not to invest

Technology travels in time: Is born, grows up, decline and die

Example: Stock market Shall I buy at this time?

1 2



Elliott 5-wave theory (fractals) 5

- 1 (up): precursors - 2 (down): contrariors - 3 (up): consensus

- 4 (down): benefice taking - 5 (up): late comers


- Identify entry/exit points - Expected up/down levels

LCT: S-curve

(Performance against unit of effort/money invested) - Initial slow performance: fundamental not well understood - Acceleration of performance (better understanding)

- Slows down when the technology reaches its limits

identify discontinuity in an emerging technology that replaces a mature technology

identify birth of new market opportunities

identify death or obsolesence of the technology market

technological progress: succession of S curves:

New S curve at the end of an Old S curve (ex: CT and PET-CT)

Innovation is one of the most sensitive meeting points between material and

psychological viewpoints.

Success of innovation is almost

independant from technical novelty.


Time line connected to « market adoption »

(spread of technology)

S-curve: Diffusion of technology against cumulative number of adopters of technology over time:

- Slow at the begining (introduction to market) - Accelerates and is used in mass

- Market saturated

→Model to predict when a technology reaches its limits, identify and move to a new technology

Modeling (Rogers 2003, Moore 2014) of the transition from early visionaries market to mass market

(Rogers 2003, Moore 2014)

- Innovators (2.5%) & early followers (13.5%): understanding technology and performance - Early (34%) and late (34%) majority: solution and comfort

- Sceptics (16%)

Chasm: breakpoint between early followers and early majority. Point where technology dies or survives (expected performance/revenue)


- True limits not really known in advance, large disagreements between companies - Firms can modify the S-curves through their R&D

- Unexpected changes may occur in the market

Y(t) = ktae-bt


functional neuroimaging


Gd based fMRI 1991


BOLD fMRI 1990-1992

Diffusion fMRI 2001-2006







0 5 10 15 20 25

Time (s)

Diffusion BOLD


Example of X-ray technology


X-ray technologies generate the largest Medical Imaging Technology income by far


New CT users build up on X-ray imaging


CT: incremental improvements (7th generation).

Vacuum market at the begining, now mature stage, decline expected from S-curve pattern?

X-ray (film based) 1895 CT 1971

PET-CT 1991

PET-CT 1st prototype: 1991, first sold: 2001, currently growing phase

HYBRID SYSTEMS: Anatomy AND Function

- Detector technology for the needs of the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments

→Extension to the medical imaging field.

→Third generation of read-out chips allows ‘colour’ imaging during CT scans (spectral imaging) providing information about the density and the atomic structure of a tissue.

(still in the emerging phase and has not been widely adopted)


HYPE CYCLE (Gartner)

Death valley, chasm: need to reach « early majority » customers

- Need for financial ressources to allow performance to generate enough revenues - Segment the market, find niche within a larger market

- Attack competitors on small segments through proper positionning

Death valley

- CT, MRI, PET: now adopted by « skeptics », productivity plateau, slow decline phase will start soon?

- Hybrid PET-CT: early majority, slope of enlightment

- Hybrid PET-MRI: development started in late 1990s, first prototype by Siemens 2008.

High complexity, cost (equipment, hospital infrastructures, tracers+++)

Early adopters, enters the death valley(performance? cost? Policymakers+++)

➢ Need to have pre-market information on regulation mechanisms which may affect cost-benefit, risk, effectiveness

Sensitivity to MARKET of raw materials

Technology Trigger

- Breakthrough, public, press and industry interest

Peak of Inflated Technology

- Over-enthusiasm, unrealistic projections, success

Trough of Disillusionment (« Death Valley », chasm)

- Growing failures toward the limits, disappointment

Slope of enlightment

- Solid hard work, true understanding of usage, risks,benefits

Plateau of Productivity

- Real benefits demonstrated and accepted, stability of tools, reduced risk, adoption


The liquid helium crisis (MRI)


1.5T … 3T… 7T

Niobium-Titanium solenoid design @ 4.2°K (supraconductivity)

US faced severe shortages of the medical isotope technetium-99m once the ageing NRU nuclear reactor in Chalk River, Canada, stops producing molybdenum-99 in 2016. Global supplies of molybdenum-99 are produced at six other reactors worldwide, most of these facilities are also very old and some are prone to unscheduled shutdowns.

The Technetium crisis (Nuclear Medicine) Functional & Molecular Imaging (Nuclear Medicine)

- Dedicated radiochemistry facilities, cyclotron (local or remote repending on isotope 1/2life) - Need for raw isotope availability (market)

DI-BSCCO Type HT (Bi-2223)

Kyoto U. 1.5-3T HTC MRI system Can be turned on/off in <2 hours!

Urayama, Fukuyama et al.

Helium free magnets?

2018: $5 billions

Niobium-Titanium … jewellery!

“Helium free” Philips Ingenia Ambition X 1.5T MR Pediatric applications ICU


Alzheimer disease Molecular imaging

2007- 3T : 700 installed systems

- 7T : 10 installed systems (USA, EU, Asia) -3 @ 9.4T systems (USA, Germany)


- 3T : 100 installed systems

- 1 MRI scanner @7T + 1 @8T (USA) - 2 orders (USA, J)

End of 2020

- 3T : 10000 installed systems

- 7T : 800 installed systems (FDA certification in 2017!) - 1 @ 8T and 5 @ 9.4T systems (USA, Germany)

11.7T reached @ NeuroSpin(MRI not yet operational) -1 x 10,5T Minneapolis (operational)

-2 head-only 11.7T systems: USA (NIH), KOREA (status ?) -projects for 11.7T: Notthingham, Nymegen, Heildelberg - USA projet (14T or 20T)

Aimant CMRR 10.5T

New RF coil designs & metamaterials

Tomi-Tricot, Amadon A et al. (2018)

M. Cloos, N. Boulant, M. Luong, G. Ferrand, E. Giacomini, M.-F.

Hang, D. Le Bihan, and A. Amadon, NeuroImage 62:2140-50 (2012).

- Slow start (imaging principle unclear, breakthrough, potential not clear compared to CT, cost), 80s economic recession - Acceleration has been driven by increase in image quality (phased-array RF coils),

magnetic field

and cost decrease


Acquisition and Image Reconstruction/Processing

have become completely intermingled (Machine Learning)




New signal spatial encoding strategies (sparse sampling)

Hybridized meta-atom (HMA) passive insert boosts RF field

12Tx/22Rx coil (7T)

10.55T @ July 4th, 2019 11.7T @ July 19, 2019


Prospective SPARse K-space sampLING (SPARKLING) Ph. Ciuciu, C. Lazarus et al. NeuroSpin


Prospective of MRI magnets for medical applications

FuSuMaTech (H2020 FET OPEN)

Ad hoc Working Group

on Future Superconducting Magnet Technology

Disruptive Innovations in Medical Imaging


Breast cancer virtual biopsy

AI DWI based automatic detection/analysis

New RF coil designs

& metamaterials

AI based acquisition

& Image Reconstruction


#2 FlatBedMRI

High Bo Large size

Open design Small & Cheap

#4 Social fMRI

Clinical need Market


Open breast MRI project

Imaging without images



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