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Department of Physics pres.

Department Colloquium | Approaches to Fully-3D Dedicated Molecular Breast Imaging

Martin Tornai (Duke University)

The Multi-Modality Imaging Lab at Duke has developed and characterized several dedicated (human) breast imaging devices which offer no compression (no pain!), fast scans, low dose imaging with ionizing radiation for the patient, and fully-3D, isotropic, high resolution quantitative in vivo image information for physicians. The first is a “one-stop” dedicated breast imaging system for utilizing in vivo molecular imaging with Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) using a 4x5 array of 4x4cm^2 pixelated CZT modules combined with low dose x-ray Computed Tomography (CT) utilizing a 40x30cm^2 CsI(Tl) flat-panel detector coupled to a TFT array. The subsystems were developed individually, then hybridized onto a single platform, allowing fully-3D motions of each subsystem. The 3D acquisitions facilitate overcoming sampling insufficiency issues associated with cone-beam CT imaging in the pendant breast frame. Novel x-ray filtering leading to quasi-monochromatic spectra have enabled low dose CT imaging comparable with standard mammography, providing quantitative accuracy within a few percent of NIST values, while optimizing dose efficiency for image quality. Next is a clinically available cardiac SPECT imaging system utilizing 19 compact (8x8cm^2) CZT cameras with pinhole collimators reconfigured for uncompressed, pendant breast and chest wall imaging. The third system utilizes LGSO scintillation crystals coupled to compact position-sensitive photodetectors in two opposed 15x20cm^2 flat panels enabling fully-3D acquisition for dedicated breast Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging; this open system can be combined with dedicated CT. The most current system design is for dual PET-MRI breast imaging using an ultra-high sensitivity configuration of PET detector modules to image both breasts simultaneously, and is evaluated by Monte Carlo techniques. These systems can be used to detect occult disease not otherwise seen in contemporary x-ray mammography or tomosynthesis, improve the specificity of cancer diagnosis, and monitor therapeutic response in patients, without causing additional pain (or fear) for the patient.

SHORT BIO: Martin Tornai is an Associate Professor of Radiology (tenured) and Biomedical Engineering, and a faculty member of the Medical Physics Graduate Program at Duke University. He has an undergraduate degree in physics from Cornell and a PhD in biomedical physics from UCLA. Upon completing his doctoral research on intraoperative nuclear imaging devices in 1997, he was recruited to the Duke faculty where he has engaged in numerous activities locally, nationally and internationally. He is a founding faculty member of Duke’s Medical Physics Graduate Program which will celebrate it’s 15th anniversary, and is active on many administrative committees, teaching, and student research committees, helping guide students in their research efforts. His research interests include dedicated nuclear (SPECT & PET) and x-ray based (CT) breast imaging devices, with which several dozen women have been clinically scanned. Along with his numerous MS, PhD and post-doctoral students and various colleagues, he has published over 150 original papers, proceedings articles, and book chapters. His newer interests include dosimetry for nuclear medicine theranostic applications.

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