Professor Kyu-Sung Cho
- Simultaneous PET-MRI imaging system commercialization technology developed purely from domestic technology -
- Inspiring achievement by KAIST, National NanoFab Center, Sogang University, Seoul National University Hospital –
Hopes are high for the potential of producing domestic products in the field of state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment that used to rely on imported products.
The joint research team (KAIST, Sogang University and Seoul National University) with KAIST Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering Professor Kyu-Sung Cho in charge, together with National Nanofab Institution (NNFC; Director Jae-Young Lee), has developed PET-MRI simultaneous imaging system with domestic technology only. The team successfully acquired brain images of 3 volunteers with the newly developed system.
PET-MRI is integrated state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment that combines the advantages of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that shows anatomical images of the body and Position Emission Tomography (PET) that analyses cell activity and metabolism. Since the anatomical information and functional information can be seen simultaneously, the device can be used to diagnose early onset Alzheimer’s disease and is essential in biological science research, such as new medicine development.
The existing equipment used to take MRI and PET images separately due to the strong magnetic field generated by MRI and combine the images. Hence, it was time consuming and error-prone due to patient’s movement. There was a need to develop PET that functions within a magnetic field to create a simultaneous imaging system.
The newly developed integral PET-MRI has 3 technical characteristics: 1. PET detector without magnetic interference, 2. PET-MRI integration system, 3.PET-MRI imaging processing.
The PET detector is the most important factor and accounts for half the cost of the whole system. KAIST Professor Cho and NNFC Doctor Woo-Suk Seol’s team successfully developed the Silicon Photomultiplier (amplifies light coming into the radiation detector) that can be used in strong magnetic fields. The developed sensor has a global competitive edge since it optimises semiconductor processing to yield over 95% productivity and around 10% gamma radiation energy resolving power.
Sogang University Department and Electrical Engineering Professor Yong Choi developed cutting edge PET system using a new concept of electric charge signal transmission method and imaging location distinction circuit. The creativity and excellence of the research findings were recognised and hence published on the cover of Medical Physics in June.
Seoul National University Hospital Department of Nuclear Medicine Professor Jae-Sung Lee developed the Silicon Photomultiplier sensor based PET imaging reconstitution programme, MRI imaging based PET imaging revision technology and PET-MRI imaging integration software.
Furthermore, KAIST Department of Electrical Engineering Professor Hyun-Wook Park was responsible for the development of RF Shielding technology that enables simultaneous installation of PET and MRI and using this technology, he developed a head coil for the brain that can be connected to PET for installation.
Based on the technology describe above, the joint research team successfully developed PET-MRI system for brains and acquired PET-MRI integrated brain images from 3 volunteers last June.
In particular, this system has the distinct feature of a detachable PET module and MRI head coil to the existing whole body MRI, so that PET-MRI simultaneous imaging is possible with low installation cost.
Professor Cho said, “We have prepared the foundation of domestic commercial PET and the system has a competitive edge in the global market of PET-MRI system technology.” He continued, “It can reduce the cost of the increasing brain related disease diagnosis, including Alzheimer’s, dramatically.”
Funded by Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as an Industrial Foundation Technology Development Project (98 billion won in 7 years), the research applied for over 20 patents and 20 CSI theses.
Figure 1.Brain phantom images from developed PET-MRI system
Figure 2. Brain images from developed PET-MRI system
Figure 3. Domestic PET-MRI clinical trial
Figure 4. Head RF coil and PET detector inserted in MRI
Figure 5. Insertion type PET detector module
Figure 6. Silicon Photomultiplier sensor (Left) and flash crystal block (right)
Figure7. Silicon Photomultiplier sensor
Figure 8. PET detection principle
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