Kromek, a radiation detection technology company focusing on the medical, security and nuclear markets, has been awarded funding from Innovate UK, to deliver a three-year project in partnership with Newcastle Hospitals.
The project is to deliver a Low Dose Molecular Breast Imaging (LDMBI) technology based on Kromek’s CZT-based SPECT detectors. The project, commencing in mid-2018, is worth £1.4m.
In the first phase of the project, Kromek will utilise new developments in the Company’s CZT-based SPECT detector technology to reduce the required dose of radiation in molecular breast imaging, a technology which uses a radioactive tracer to identify tumours. In this imaging technique, the tracer concentrates more heavily in malignant breast tissue, allowing the tumour to be easily identified irrespective of breast density.
By partnering with breast cancer experts at the Newcastle Hospitals for the development, the team will ensure that the technology is tuned to clinical and patient needs. The LDMBI device will subsequently be used in a pilot study with the Newcastle Hospitals to demonstrate the clinical benefits of incorporating Kromek’s SPECT detectors.
Since its introduction thirty years ago, the breast screening programme in the UK has relied principally on x-ray mammography, a technique which is effective only when there is a significant difference between the density of a cancer tumour and the surrounding breast tissue. For over a third of women, their breast tissue is sufficiently dense that mammography is unable to clearly image tumours, resulting in undiagnosed cancers. By leveraging its SPECT detector technology to develop a functional low dose device, Kromek will help unlock the potential for molecular breast imaging, thereby improving detection of cancerous breast tissue in women with denser breast structures.
Dr Arnab Basu, CEO of Kromek, said: “This project is further evidence that CZT-based detectors are becoming a core technology in replacing legacy diagnostic products across the medical imaging sector. Our innovative SPECT detectors are capable of significantly lowering radiation doses, thereby offering cost savings for health services and, crucially, making enhanced detection and early diagnosis of breast cancer accessible on a much wider scale. We look forward to collaborating with Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as well as our OEM partner to carry out this vital work.”
Louise Robson, joint acting chief executive for the Newcastle Hospitals, commented: “Providing patient care which is safe and of the highest quality is a key priority for us and by working collaboratively in this way, we are able to ensure new, advanced treatments are as safe as they can be. We welcome working with Kromek on this exciting initiative, and hope to see many more similar ventures which benefit patient care, whilst placing the North East firmly on the map as a leader in healthcare innovation.”
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