Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Development of high-resolution PET probe

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
7.00.00  Interdisciplinary research     

Code Science Field
B140  Biomedical sciences  Clinical physics, radiology, tomography, medical instrumentation 
PET, medical imaging, position-sensitive detectors, ionising radiation
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (4)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  09081  PhD Vladimir Cindro  Physics  Researcher  2007 - 2009  1,569 
2.  03947  PhD Marko Starič  Physics  Researcher  2007 - 2009  741 
3.  21552  PhD Andrej Studen  Physics  Researcher  2007 - 2009  129 
4.  12750  PhD Dejan Žontar  Physics  Head  2007 - 2009  350 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  90,038 
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) a well established imaging modality in modern medical diagnostics that, among others, enables good separation of healthy and cancer tissue. Limited spatial resolution of the existing PET apparata is, however, not sufficient for an adequate determination of the stage of the disease and distribution of the cancer tissue in some types of cancer, e.g. prostate cancer. As a possible solution we are proposing a construction of an additional high-resolution probe that could be placed to the near proximity of the imaged tissue. Such system would provide both classical events where both annihilation photons are detected in the PET ring as well as high-resolution events where one of the photons would hit the probe and the other the surrounding ring. Image reconstruction software adequately taking into account both types of events could provide diagnostic image with significantly improved resolution, leading to improved clinical determination of the disease and better treatment control. In the project we are proposing to focus on a specific case of a probe for prostate imaging. For the first phase we are planning verification of the proposed concept using computer simulations and determination of requirements for the PET probe. The second phase would be dedicated to the evaluation of the available detector technologies with the emphasis on silicon position sensitive detectors and combination of scintillators (BGO or LSO) coupled to advanced photodetectors (avalanche photodiodes or silicon photomultipliers). Upon successful completion of the initial phases the third phase of the project would be dedicated to construction of the PET probe prototype and its evaluation.
Significance for science
Cancer currently affects more than 1/3 of the European population, mostly elderly people. Due to ever-increasing life expectancy in Europe, cancer incidence is expected to grow further, possibly reaching up to 40-45% of the entire population. In the last decade, extraordinary progress has been made in understanding the biological basis of cancer growth and invasiveness, as well as on medical management of cancer. Early diagnosis, appropriate surgical intervention, specific pharmacological therapy and computer guided radiotherapy have significantly prolonged life and improved quality of life of cancer patients. The proposed project represents a transfer of technology and know-how, developed for particle physics instrumentation, to the field of medical diagnostics instrumentation. Results of the proposed project may well lead to significant improvements towards earlier and more accurate diagnosis of some types of cancer for which currently available imaging modalities don't provide adequate diagnostic information, enabling earlier and better tailored treatment of those patients.
Significance for the country
Improvements in the diagnostics of cancer potentially brought by the proposed system will enable earlier and more accurate diagnosis. It is well known that early and accurate diagnosis makes a significant contribution to successful treatment of cancer, which in turn leads to improved health of our ageing population and reduces costs of medical care. Activities funded by the project and the achieved results served as a basis for participation of our group in the FP/ EURATOM project MADEIRA. The MADEIRA consortuim consist of a number of leading European and USA institutions in field of medical imaging technology research. This not only improves visibility of our research but, more importantly, opened access to the state-of-the-art research and activities in technology for medical imaging, particularly for nuclear medicine. Close contact that were establised in this framework may well result in faster development of medical physics in Slovenia. For one, in the past three years Experimental particle physics department of the JSI participated in organisation of a number of international courses in nuclear medicine, one of them taking place in Ljubljana. On more immediate level development of the PRT probe opens possibilities for development of new technologies and increase competitiveness of high-tech companies in Slovenia. Thus the project initiated development of new flexible printed circuits for connection of detectors with the read-out electronics. The mentioned technology, developped in one of Slovenian companies, would enable dense stacking of the silicon detectors, which is one of the main issues i construction of a compact probe with high detection efficiency.
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