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Molecular imaging sniffs out malfunctioning organs

BioPhotonics
Mar 2011
BioPhotonics staff

MADRID, Spain – Using a biomedical scanner that resolves cellular processes at the molecular level, scientists can now detect a malfunctioning organ before it produces any anatomical changes. Spurring the device’s development is the need to study human diseases in animals that are hundreds of times smaller than people.

The prototype of the technology, which is in the patent process, was validated by studies done at the Gregorio Marañón Hospital by a group of researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M). The device is based on single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), one of the most widespread molecular imaging techniques in clinical practice. Some aspects of the technology already play a role in nuclear medicine imaging and MRI.

The researchers’ studies have ranged from the initial design of an electronic architecture for gamma ray detectors to industry transfer of a complete scanner. Their articles were published in IEEE Transactions on Nuclear Science (two articles) and Physics in Medicine and Biology (one article).

In addition to making an earlier diagnosis possible, the scanner can facilitate biomedical and pharmaceutical research, speeding the development of new medicines, for example, according to the UC3M researchers.

The SPECT system has been completed for laboratory animals, and commercialization is in the works. Sedecal, a Spanish manufacturer, is producing it.



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