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article imagePalm-sized medical gamma-ray camera launched

By Tim Sandle     May 22, 2017 in Health
Scientists have invented a Compton camera weighing just 580 grams. The camera visualizes gamma rays of different energies. in tests the camera has produced high-resolution, multicolor 3D molecular images of a live mouse.
Waseda University technologists have undertaken the first ever demonstration of multicolor three-dimensional imaging of the internal organs of an animal using ultra-compact Compton camera. in addition, compared with conventional technology, the images have been produced with a reduced measurement time. Compton cameras look for Compton energy, which is the inelastic scattering of a photon by a charged particle, usually an electron (essentially detecting gamma rays).
Current technologies, where images are derived from single photon emission tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET), are two-dimensional. Moreover, PET can only image monochromatic gamma rays.
The scientists have achieved this through the use of a Compton camera weighing just 580 grams and which is the approximate size of the palm of an adult male. The camera visualizes gamma rays of variable energies. In a test case the researchers succeeded in producing a high-resolution, multicolor three-dimensional molecular image of a live mouse. The mouse had been administered with three different radioactive tracers, and images were produced within two hours.
The experimental results suggest possibilities for producing new image tracers able to produce visuals across a wide energy range at reduced costs (compared with current technologies) as well as enabling the simultaneous imaging of multiple tracers capable of providing multilateral information on disease in target organs. Color is important based on the dyes used: iodine (green), strontium (blue), and zinc (red), which accumulate in the thyroid, bones and liver respectively.
Once the technology has been further tested, applications on people will include helping with the detection and assessment of early cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Discussing the technology in communication to Digital Journal, Jun Kataoka, professor of applied physics at Waseda University stated: "This would be as revolutionary as black and white television turning into color, dramatically increasing the amount of information we could obtain from an image."
The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports under the heading "First demonstration of multi-color 3-D in vivo imaging using ultra-compact Compton camera."
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