What Is Happening in the Lungs?

Combining the visual expertise of National Jewish Health radiologists with powerful supercomputers helps bring the lungs into focus.

Radiologists are skilled at picking out subtle patterns in ghostlike X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. Radiologists, however, are more descriptive than precise. Terms like “extensive ground glass” and “mild honeycombing” describe what they see in patients’ lungs. Precision medicine, however, relies on quantifiable measurements.

Bioengineer Steven Humphries, PhD, and Radiologist David Lynch, MD, are using the expertise of National Jewish Health radiologists to teach powerful computers to read CT scans. They will not replace radiologists’ subtle skills, but the computers can measure and quantify the scarring and destruction of lung tissue. This approach helps
physicians track changes in patients’ lungs over time, allowing them to better guide care and monitor the response to therapy.