Creating Biomedical Technologies to Improve Health

RESEARCH FUNDING

Nuclear Medicine

This program supports the research and development of technologies and techniques that create images using gamma-ray (SPECT) or positron (PET) emissions from radioactive biological agents that are injected, inhaled, or ingested into the body. 

Emphasis
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.

Relevance
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.

Additional emphasis

  • 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

Additional support

  • 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