Imaging at the Speed of Light
Mice and rats are the animals most often used in research thanks to their great similarity with the human genome. But observing their small organs in as much detail as required with human subjects requires visualizing volumes that are 10 times (or even 100 times) smaller. For that, we need medical scanners comprising tens of thousands of detectors with the added capacity of accurately measuring photon flight time.
Dr. Réjean Fontaine, Canada Research Chair in Positron Emission Tomography based on Photon Flight Time, is seeking to use his expertise in complex IT and electronic system design to help make such scanners a reality.
Fontaine and his research team are collaborating with national and international researchers to develop electronic and IT systems for use in medical imaging, such as positron emission tomography. Such devices would be able to quantify and locate minute amounts of tracers marked by a radioactive atom. Glucose-based tracers are most often used to detect cancer cells, which have a greater appetite for glucose compared with normal cells.
Ultimately, Fontaine’s work will be used to design new scanners that can be used in cutting-edge biomedical research to gain a better grasp of biochemical interactions and their role in the diagnosis and development of certain diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s.