The Applied Physics Laboratory
has signed an agreement with
Hologic granting the company
exclusive worldwide rights to the Lab's
bone health analysis technology. Hologic
is a leading provider of diagnostic
imaging and state-of-the-art digital
imaging systems directed toward women's
"This is a great example of the types
of collaborations that are needed to move
government-funded technologies into
the public sector," said Heather Curran,
marketing and technology manager in
the APL Office of Technology Transfer.
"This work was originally funded, in
part, to help astronauts. This agreement
ensures that many more people will benefit
from this technology."
The Hip Structure Analysis technology
was developed through the collaborative
efforts of Thomas J. Beck and
Harry K. Charles, along with Howard
S. Feldmesser and Thomas C. Magee.
Beck, an associate professor of radiology
in the School of Medicine, is a
world leader in the development of biomechanical
parameters of hip structure
derived from densitometric information.
His HSA method and its prediction of
bone strength has been the subject of
more than 30 peer-reviewed publications.
In the mid-1990s, Beck began applying
HSA principles to addressing challenges
associated with manned space
exploration. He is working with APL
engineers on a National Space Biomedical
Research Institute–funded study to
better understand and measure bone
loss and its strength-related implications
in support of the development of
a ground-based clinical system suitable
for preflight and post-flight testing of
In addition to its use in space-flight
work, the HSA method has been used
in the analysis of data from a number of
major studies around the world.
According to Beck, while bone mineral
density is recognized as a strong predictor
of fracture risk in osteoporosis, structural
effects on bones that are important in
determining their mechanical strength
cannot be easily determined from BMD
"Hip Structure Analysis algorithms
enable us to calculate both the BMD
as well as the structural geometry that
underlies bone strength from DXA [dual
x-ray absorptiometry] measurements,"
Beck said. "I believe this will result
in more definitive measures of bone
Brad Herrington, Hologic's vice president
of skeletal health imaging, said,
"HSA is the leading hip structure analysis
method for DXA scans in research
and pharmaceutical studies. We intend
to take this tool through the Food and
Drug Administration and other regulatory
approval processes and offer it to our
bone densitometer customers."
HSA is a trademark of The Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory.
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