Adima Project

Patent for the Adaptive Imaging System

Kay System Italia is strongly involved in the development of advanced research in the medical diagnostic imaging sector.
In order to transfer the technological know-how for innovative software and hardware products , since 2009 KSI has begun an important collaboration with the medical physics’ laboratory of department of Molecolar Medicine of “La Sapienza University” of Rome. The core business of KSI is focused on medical diagnostic and its spillovers, imaging research, X and Gamma rays, which are globally recognized as the most interesting and profitable sector of medical research.
The following projects, sponsored by FILAS and developed in collaboration with the laboratory of medical physics of Sapienza University, testify the strong involvement of KSI in medical research:
– The first project is focused on innovative computational techniques used to develop adaptive images. It has been sponsored by FILAS – Regione Lazio 2010 POR FESR Lazio 2007/2013 asse I Attività I. 1 prot Filas- RS- 2009-1249 CUP F87I10000740007. The final result is a patent that comes from the collaboration between “La Sapienza University” and KSI. ADIMA project represents a well-advanced collimation system for the realization of tomography with a SPET technique in static modality (without the tomographic ring).
– The second project is FILAS-CR 2011-1417, proposed by KSI in collaboration with the laboratory of medical physics of “La Sapienza University”, was sponsored by FILAS-LAZIO with the Call “Projects of R&D in collaborations with SMEs of Lazio” – POR FESR 2007/2013 Asse I – entitled “Innovative algorithms for a new typology of scintillation based on the holistic integration of specific functional features”.

The Project
The present invention relates to a tilting collimator, in particular usable in the imaging technique known as Single Photon Emission computed tomography (SPECT). This technique of medical imaging of nuclear medicine uses gamma rays as ionizing radiation and it uses a so-called gamma camera to receive the image, but it allows processing a substantially three-dimensional image under the form of axial, sagittal or coronal sections.
The technique provides the ingestion, by the patient, of suitable radio drugs, for example 99m Tc-HMPAO (hexamethylpropylene amine oxime), to cause the localized emission of photons which have to be detected by the gamma camera. The radio drug accumulates depending upon the specific metabolic functionality of the tissue or organ and with the same principle it can accumulate in the tumoral tissue. The detection of the radioactive isotope allows detecting the exact position of the tumour which could be then surgically removed or otherwise treated. The operation of the gamma camera is based upon the capability of some crystals of generating photons of visible light when hit by the gamma radiation coming from the source. These photons are highlighted by using photomultipliers and transformed into electrical pulses.
The number of events detected in the time unit is proportional to the radioisotope concentration. Furthermore, the gamma radiation does not undergo alterations in its emission direction, thanks to the very high penetrating power thereof, and therefore such direction can be exploited to confer the requested three-dimensionality to the image which is processed.
Generally, in order to detect images, the gamma camera is rotated around the patient in order to obtain the scanning of planar images in the different projections obtained during the rotation. The time necessary to obtain each protection is variable, but a duration of 15-20 seconds is typical. This involves a total scanning time of about 15-20 minutes, time range wherein the patient must remain immobile.

The range length also requests the ingestion of a strong dose of radio drug, which is potentially dangerous for the patient’s health. Therefore, one wishes to make the examination quicker and to decrease the ingested quantity of radio drug. Furthermore, the rotation of the gamma camera involves a removal of the same from the interesting site with the consequent deterioration of the spatial resolution and of the contrast, in particular for objects with small sizes. The solution idea consists in providing a collimator allowing to receive photonic emission having a determined tilting, variable in time, without requesting the rotation of the gamma camera. However, this collimator has to be able to implement a very precise collimation at predetermined angles, obtained by tilting members which, due to the shape thereof, can receive photons coming from one single direction.

The International patent application Nr. WO2010/008538 describes an imaging 15 technique of stereotactic type, wherein two sets of a plurality of metallic slats are tilted compared to a line perpendicular to the plane of the gamma camera. The tilting of the two groups of slats is specular, but this arrangement necessarily requires a very wide sensor and a precise alignment of the different slats during the tilting thereof and difficult to be obtained.