Nikon Metrology

Advanced CT scanning provides a new insight into deadly lung disease

Computed tomography, Metrology CT, X-ray and CT Inspection

Doctors and scientists at the University of Southampton have used the powerful CT scanning equipment at their μ-VIS Centre for Computed Tomography to image Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) lung tissue sample for the first time. In the video below you can see the results of this process. Read on to find out more about this breakthrough.

Our centre examines a wide variety of objects from the layup of individual carbon fibres in aircraft wing components, to the delicate roots of growing plants, and now parts of the body. By being a multidisciplinary centre we have a wealth of expertise that have allowed us to apply this technology in a way that has not been done before. This work is of great significance to us, with the long term potential to translate our research from the bench to the bedside of patients.” – Professor Ian Sinclair, Director of the μ-VIS Centre for Computed Tomography.


Computer generated images of multiple areas of active fibrosis identified by micro CT. Each colour identifies a different area of active fibrosis. These images are then seen with the micro CT images so that all of the 3D structures can be studied together.


Each year over 5000 new cases of IPF are diagnosed in the UK, and the number of cases is increasing by around five percent every year. The condition which causes inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue causes increasing difficulties in breathing and the deadly lung disease ultimately leaves sufferers with a life expectancy of only three to five years.

As the condition becomes increasingly common, this breakthrough in technology represents a significant step forward in the understanding of the disease. The 3D X-ray/ CT  scanning provides a unique insight into the condition, each sample can be viewed with a similar level of detail to an optical microscope, but now in 3D. The new information gained from the 3D imaging can change the way diseases such as IPF are diagnosed. The study’s lead author, Dr Mark Jones states that “It will also help to increase our understanding of how these scarring lung diseases develop which we hope will ultimately mean better targeted treatments are developed for every patient.”

To read the full in-depth article on this topic, follow the link to the JCI Insight article here.

The study was funded by the Wellcome Trust and also involved researchers at the Royal Brompton Hospital, National Jewish Health in Colorado, and University College Dublin. The μ-VIS Centre received funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant EP-H01506X) and the University of Southampton, along with the imaging collaboration with Nikon Metrology.