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Varian Medical Systems and Stanford University Win $3.6 Million Five-Year NIH/NCI Research Grant to Develop Advanced Imaging Technology

Mon, 10/11/2010 - 5:33am
Bio-Medicine.Org

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Scientists from Stanford University and from the Ginzton Technology Center at Varian Medical Systems have jointly received a $3.6 million five-year research grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop advanced imaging technology for improving the quality of CT images for patients with metal objects in their bodies such as hip implants and dental fillings.  

The grant award is from the Cancer Imaging Program (CIP) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) within NIH. The CIP made the grant under its program entitled: Academic-Industrial Partnerships for Development and Validation of In Vivo Imaging Systems and Methods for Cancer Investigations, which was set up to encourage inter-disciplinary research by industry and academia into cancer-related imaging challenges. Josh Star-Lack, Ph.D., a senior scientist in Varian's Ginzton Technology Center for research and development, and Rebecca Fahrig, Ph.D., associate professor of radiological sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, will serve as co-principal investigators on the project.  

"Modern radiotherapy of cancer often relies on high quality CT images for planning advanced forms of treatment," said Star-Lack.  "You also need good cone-beam CT images from a machine-mounted imager for patient positioning and for assessing tumor response to treatment.  These CT images are typically acquired at kilovoltage X-ray energies resulting in excellent soft tissue definition, which means you can distinguish tumor from muscle, fat, or other organs. Unfortunately, severe image distortions can be created when metal is present, making it harder to know what you're looking at."

According to Star-Lack, it is possible to greatly reduce the distortions by using very high energy (megavoltage) x-rays that better penetrate the metal.  How

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