A New Detector for Early Cancer Diagnosis
Thirty-eight percent of Canadian women and 44 per cent of men will develop cancer during their lifetimes. Twenty-four per cent of women and 29 per cent of men will die from cancer. Early diagnosis leads to a very high cure rate, but requires highly sensitive tools for detecting lesions, reliably distinguishing between malignant and benign tumours, as well as detecting the spread of the disease from one area to another.
Positron emission tomography (PET)—a nuclear medicine imaging technique—has a high success rate for determining malignancy and is considered to be a key tool for cancer detection, staging and treatment follow-up. However, conventional whole-body PET scanners have a limited ability to show small lesions and small spreads of the disease, due to the comparably low detection of closely-situated features using PET scanners. This limitation could be resolved by improvements in PET technology and by using organ-specific imagers.
Dr. Alla Reznik, Canada Research Chair in Physics of Molecular Imaging, has been actively collaborating with NHK Science & Technical Laboratories in Japan to develop advanced solid-state technology for a new generation of organ-specific PET imagers based on unique developments in photo-detection.
The goal of Reznik’s research is to improve sensitivity for cancer detection, enabling diagnosis in the early stages of cancer and efficient monitoring of the treatment of the disease. Reznik will continue to work on the development of advanced radiation imaging detectors for a variety of biomedical applications, beginning with breast cancer for overall public health benefits.