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Nuclear physics promises earlier detection of brain tumors with just 1 scan
Date:3/3/2010

Time taken to detect brain tumours could soon be significantly reduced thanks to an ongoing pioneering project led by the University of Liverpool with the Nuclear Physics Group and Technology departments at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at Daresbury Laboratory. Project ProSPECTus is developing the technology for next generation SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) imaging that is set to revolutionise the medical imaging process, improving future diagnosis of cancer and the probability of successful cancer therapy whilst enabling a higher throughput of patients in hospitals.

Project ProSPECTus is based on a form of imaging known as SPECT which detects gamma rays emitted by a tiny amount of a radioactive pharmaceutical which is injected into the body. SPECT is a widely used method of imaging in many areas of medicine providing 3D functional information about the body, which is typically presented as cross-sectional slices through the patient. It is most commonly used to test the functioning of the heart or for the detection of tumours. Conventionally, SPECT imaging uses what is known as an 'Anger Camera' which relies on a collimator, a filtering device with many small holes, which lets just some gamma rays through and relies on geometry to identify exactly where they are coming from in order to build a picture of a biological process happening inside the patient.

However, ProSPECTus has taken a fundamentally different approach and has developed its technology based on what is known as the 'Compton Camera'. This identifies the origin of the gamma rays without the use of a collimator, meaning that much less of the radiation used in the process is wasted, so the radiation is used more efficiently. It has not been possible to do this successfully before. However, using brand new, cutting edge detector systems, ProSPECTus is now building a prototype SPECT imaging system, using the Compton Camera principle, that i
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Contact: Wendy Taylor
wendy.taylor@stfc.ac.uk
44-192-560-3232
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Source:Eurekalert

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