The Mini Gamma-Ray Camera

MGRC Image
 

The Mini Gamma-Ray Camera (MGRC) has been developed for use in Nuclear Medicine employing solid state detector technology originally developed for x-ray astronomy applications. The MGRC has been developed as a collimated, scintillator-coated, low noise device which compliments whole-body gamma cameras as a generic low cost, high performance, hand held gamma camera. These cameras have an intrinsic sub-mm spatial resolution (~0.5 mm) and excellent energy resolution over the energy range 30 – 160 keV.

MGRC4 and PC

The MGRC is based on an existing class of detector, incorporating a scintillator which converts gamma-rays into photons, made from CsI(Tl) in a columnar layer placed in direct contact with a silicon CCD. The specific goal is to image, with high spatial resolution and good scatter-rejection, the 140.5 keV gamma-ray emissions from 99mTechnetium-labelled tracers.

Key application for the MGRC will be the detection and imaging of sentinel lymph nodes which forms part of the diagnosis of cancer. Current procedures can require investigative surgery to assess the spread of primary tumours. The device, will help to reduce the cost and trauma of surgery. Other non-intrusive techniques are coming to the market, however an assessment of these indicates they do not achieve the projected performance of the Space Research Centre MGRC systems.

Comparison of MGRC with Standard Gamma Camera

These images were taken of a 99mTc phantom (i.e. a model of a tumour) consisting of 4 hot spots source. The image on the right was taken using a large field of view Mediso Nucline X-Ring-C gamma camera. The image on the left was taken using the MGRC. It is evident from the images that the standard camera only shows two distinct spots whereas the MGRC shows there are actually four.


Comparison with WBGC

Standard whole body gamma cameras are expensive and offer only a moderate spatial resolution (approx. 10mm). The cost of such systems often precludes their widespread use. MGRC cameras will be significantly cheaper than the standard gamma cameras.

Small gamma cameras will be a natural complement to Whole Body Gamma Cameras by offering imaging of small volumes of tissue, joints etc. at higher spatial resolutions (~0.4mm cf. 4mm).

 Publications

  1. J E Lees, DJ Bassford, OE Blake, PE Blackshaw, AC Perkins,  A high resolution Small Field Of View (SFOV) gamma camera: a columnar scintillator coated CCD imager for medical applications, J. Inst. 6 (2011) C12033
  2. J E Lees, DJ Bassford, PE Blackshaw, AC Perkins, Design and use of mini-phantom for high resolution planar gamma cameras, Applied Radiation and Isotopes, 68 (2010) 2448-2451

Bioimaging Unit,
Space Research Centre,
Department of Physics,
University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK.
Contact: Dr John Lees, +44 (0)116 252 5519, lee@star.le.ac.uk

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