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    Research Grants Awarded

    Feasibility study of a high-resolution breast coil for PET-CT scanners

    Study Section:
    Detection, Diagnosis and Prognosis

    Scientific Abstract:
    Background :Positron emission tomography (PET) uses radiotracers to assess biological functions. Using 18 FDG to measure tissue metabolism, PET is currently used for staging, re-staging, and monitoring the effectiveness of therapy for breast cancer. High-resolution PET has been used to study gene expression, pharmacokinetics, and molecular interactions in animals. Promising biomarkers and new drugs developed from animal research will eventually be translated to human for early detection and treatment of cancer. High-resolution human PET imaging will be required to validate these new techniques in clinical trials, and more importantly to make them widely available to the public. Objective :Study the feasibility of a high-resolution breast coil for PET scanners. The device will maintain the dynamic imaging capability and large imaging field of view of the scanner, and locally enhance image resolution around breasts, and axillary and internal lymph nodes. Specific Aims :(1) Evaluate the design, performance and limitation of the device. (2) Study the quantitative aspect of the system. (3) Develop an image reconstruction algorithm for the system. Study Design :(1) Monte Carlo techniques will be used to model physics of gamma-ray interaction with tissues and detectors and simulate the proposed high-resolution coil and a PET scanner. Image resolution and system sensitivity will be evaluated using point and diffused sources. Two sets of detectors, one representing the scanner and the other the breast coil, will be constructed to experimentally validate the simulation results. (2) The effect of scatter and random coincidences in the proposed system will be studied by simulating a patient body and tumors with different activity concentrations. Correction techniques will be developed to provide quantitative images. (3) The asymmetric coincidence detection function unique to this system will be measured experimentally. System matrix will be derived using the geometry of the coil and scanner, and the detector response function. ML-EM image reconstruction algorithm will be developed for the system. Potential Benefits :This study will identify the performance and limitations of a breast coil for PET scanners. If successful, it will lead to a low-cost accessory device that makes high-resolution PET imaging of breast cancer widely available. This will accelerate the development of new biomarkers and drugs to provide early detection and new treatments for breast cancer.

    Lay Abstract:
    Background : Positron emission tomography (PET) uses small amount of radioactive drugs to measure biological functions. PET is currently used for staging, re-staging, and monitoring the effectiveness of therapy for breast cancer. High-resolution PET has been used in many biomedical research using animals. Promising results developed from animal research will eventually be translated to human for early detection and treatment of cancer. High-resolution human PET imaging will be required to validate these new techniques in clinical trials, and more importantly to make them widely available to the public. Objective : Evaluate the product concept of a high-resolution breast coil for PET scanners. The device will maintain the original functions of the scanner, and locally enhance image resolution around breasts, and axillary and internal lymph nodes. Specific Aims : (1) Evaluate the design, performance and limitation of the device. (2) Study the quantitative aspect of the system. (3) Develop an image reconstruction algorithm for the system. Study Design : (1) Computer simulation will be used to model physics of gamma-ray interaction with tissues and detectors to study the proposed high-resolution coil and a PET scanner. System performance will be evaluated. Two sets of detectors, one representing the scanner and the other the breast coil, will be constructed to experimentally validate the simulation results. (2) The noise property of the proposed system will be studied by simulating a patient body and tumors with different signal levels. Correction techniques will be developed to make sure that the image values are correct. (3) The asymmetric detector response unique to this system will be measured experimentally. This information will be used to develop an image reconstruction algorithm that provide the best image resolution and noise property for the system. Potential Benefits : This study will identify the performance and limitations of a breast coil for PET scanners. If successful, it will lead to a low-cost accessory device that makes high-resolution PET imaging of breast cancer widely available. This will accelerate the development of new detection methods and treatments for breast cancer. ..