Mapping the lymphatic network in the neck and shoulder region for future machine learning driven treatment applications for cancer patients.

01 October 2023 → 30 September 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Anatomy
    • Radiation therapy
    • Medical imaging and therapy not elsewhere classified
  • Engineering and technology
    • Biomedical image processing
Spatially accurate lymphatic system visualisation Retrograde lymphatic injection methodology Translational anatomical research
Project description

The lymphatic system has long since been charted by anatomists in the 1800’s and 1900’s. These atlas illustrations are still used today, despite existing flaws and despite the availability of modern medical imaging techniques. This project will focus on mapping the lymphatic system by using modern medical imaging techniques to provide spatially accurate, 3D visualisations of the lymphatic system in the neck and shoulder region, in relation to the surrounding anatomy. By optimising a previously developed retrograde lymphatic injection technique, radiographic contrast agent will be injected into the lymphatic network, after which CT and micro CT scans will be taken to capture the results in a spatially accurate coordinate system. Research data can be used to thoroughly revise historical lymphatic atlas plates and the retrograde lymphatic injection technique can be disseminated to the lymphatic research community. Researchers that learn the technique at our training centre will help to speed up the generation of new lymphatic data, also for different regions of the body. By combining all findings in a database, the lymphatic anatomy of many different bodies can be documented to capture anatomical variety between individuals. This database can be used as the basis for future (not within this project), machine learning driven, patient applications.