Ciencia Colombia , Bogotá D.C., Jueves, 11 de junio de 2015 a las 11:04

Gel system will optimize tumor detection

A plate in form of a tray covered with gel and placed near the body will allow discovering injured tissue or organs through radiation

UN/DICYT This technique will circumvent using two types of diagnostic images, MRI and nuclear medicine imagery; using only the former will be needed to obtain all the necessary information. 

 

Traditionally hybrid diagnostic imagery is based on mixing two different techniques: an MRI which provides an anatomical image and shows the location of every organ in the body and nuclear medicine images which are used to detect organ and tissue activity using radiopharmaceuticals which are used as radioactive tracers to monitor organ or system functions. 

 

According to UNal Department of Physics Professor Luis Agulles Pedrós the disadvantage of nuclear medicine is its low image resolution and this is why they try to merge the process with X-rays and MRI systems. Furthermore there are hybrid systems which combine both technologies but they are expensive and very complex. 

 

For these reason the UNal Medical Physics Group is developing a radiation detection system using radiopharmaceuticals to improve its compatibility with MRI systems. The novelty of this proposal is that this is a non-electronic system. 

 

The system is a plate in form of a tray which may be plastic, covered with gel and placed near the body. 

 

“Therefore the radiopharmaceuticals applied intravenously concentrate in possible tumors and emit radiation marking certain points on the gel which then suffers physical alterations,” said Agulles. 

 

The gel change may be observed through an MRI taken both to the plate and the body. Then the images are superimposed in order to identify the location of the radiation. 

 

“The image obtained may reduce costs, is more versatile, portable and fits the MRI equipment,” he said. 

 

The research project has determined a precision of five millimeters (0.197 in), the same as electronic technologies; therefore the radiated organ or tissue may have an error margin of 0.5 cms. 

 

However researching the collimator (set of lead plates which form a grid and guide the radiation towards the gel) will allow having greater precision on the location (one or two mm). This will benefit surgeons in making incisions to find a tumor. 

 

“Currently we are analyzing the length and thickness of the grid lines virtually, therefore we can avoid dispersing the radiation and making the radiation go through the grid openings,” said Professor Agulles. 

 

Furthermore the researchers are looking into lead variation and its impact on the magnetic field as well as gel composition to see which is more sensible to the radiation. 

 

The research project will used during an international course entitled “Diagnostic Imagery Basics and Technologies” organized by the UNal Medical Physics Group between July 21 and August 1 at UNal-Bogotá. 

 

The course is directed to Medical Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Radiology specialist’s, graduate students as well as Sciences-Physics Master’s and doctoral candidates and undergraduate Physics, Medicine, Biology students.