The emphasis is on: simulation and development of new detectors, collimators, and readout methods that enhance the signal quality of detecting isotope emissions; designs of novel camera geometries; and correction methods that compensate for the radiation physics properties to improve the clinical reliability of the image. Of interest are improvements and corrections for interaction events in PET detectors and enhancement to time of flight (TOF) image generation methods (reconstructions algorithms); as well as new collimator and camera designs for SPECT.
The emphasized topics are meant to lead toward: improved clinical PET and SPECT cameras or next-generation camera systems; novel simulations, reconstruction algorithms, or artifact corrections for enhancing diagnostic images; and combined camera designs. Investigating the associated dosimetry estimations leads to decreased risk in diagnostic imaging studies in patients.
- coupling of positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) to CT and/or to MRI (or other modalities)
- evaluation of new semiconductor detectors and scintillators
- readout electronics for measuring radiation interactions
- techniques for improved camera spatial resolution and sensitivity
- replacing photomultiplier tubes with novel photoconversion techniques
- new approaches for improving coincidence measurements for TOF-PET
- application of secondary emissions (bremsstrahlung, Cherenkov) for imaging
- novel camera designs applicable to imaging specific organs
- combining modalities for clinically relevant hybrid systems
- software algorithms to estimate patient dosimetry
- design of improved spatial and temporal resolution SPECT systems
- methods of measuring and correcting for patient motion
- new diagnostics applied to image-guided therapy and theranostics
- development of imaging molecular agents is supported by the Molecular Imaging program
- novel evaluation of images is supported by the Image Processing, Visual Perception and Display program
- clinical application of image-guided therapy and theranostics is supported by the Image-Guided Interventions program
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A PET scan uses radioactive tracers to create 3D images of the body. The isotopes produces small particles called positrons, which interact with surrounding electrons. The resulting photons is detected by the PET scanner and translated into an image through computer processing.
Research funded by NIH at Massachusetts General Hospital has yielded a miniature, point-of-care Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) device that can non- invasively diagnose cancer and has demonstrated superior accuracy and speed when compared to standard biopsy. The micro-NMR does this by analyzing cells, proteins, nucleic acids, viruses, and bacteria from unpurified biological samples -- all in less than an hour. Using unprocessed samples eliminates the need for a lab and trained technicians.