The work proposed here is based on new developments in the field of grating-based interferometers allowing to obtain a signature of the bone microstructure from their scattering signal. The obtained information is thus fundamentally different from classical medical imaging methods; this method was identified as extremely relevant for the diagnosis of bone diseases implying structural changes like osteoporosis, which is the main target of this study. The brilliance of the BRIX – and later SPECTRE – source will ensure the success of the technique as preliminary experiments at large scale synchrotron facilities could demonstrate.
The development of an osteoporosis diagnosis tool based on grating-based dark-field imaging implies both theoretical and pre-clinical studies. First an appropriate mathematical framework needs to be developed in order to reconstruct the relevant bone structural information from their scattering signal (à la CT). Secondly, pre-clinical studies must be performed in order to develop a quantitative analysis tool for the diagnosis of osteoporosis. In this frame several trials on clinically relevant samples will be performed and the effect of the micro-structural changes between healthy and pathological samples on the dark field signal will be quantitatively and systematically investigated using BRIX.
A systematic comparison with gold standard methods such as dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and histology will be performed. A complete simulation tool of the dark field signal formation in bones will also be developed. High-resolution CT measurement of the samples used as input to the simulation tool will enable a direct cross checking of the experimental and simulation results, thus allowing for a refinement of the measurement method.