Seeing more using x-ray colour

Friday 16 August at 6.00pm, at the Presbyterian Community Centre, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka.
Dr Hannah Prebble, Clinical Application Researcher at MARS Bioimaging Ltd.

MARS is a new 3D x-ray imaging modality that enables the assessment of biochemical and physiological processes within the body. This advances imaging science by revealing insights at the cellular and molecular level. Currently, x-rays are used to provide basic anatomical information such as the shape, size, and location of organs inside the body. Using the colour (energy) information of the x-rays
enables the study of the chemical composition of tissues. It can be used in conjunction with contrast agents and functionally targeted metallic nanoparticles. This extra information allows researchers and clinicians to make informed decisions for better prognosis and
diagnosis of a wide range of diseases.

The key enabling technologies in MARS are Medipix3RX detectors, advanced proprietary iterative reconstruction and material recovery algorithms, and visualisation software (MARS Vision). Medipix3RX detectors are advanced energy-resolving photon-counting detectors developed at CERN. When bonded to a layer of a high-Z crystal (chosen to absorb x-rays), they can measure the colour (energy) of individual x-ray photons that pass through the body. An advanced iterative reconstruction algorithm generates 3D attenuation maps over energy, and a material recovery algorithm uses this data to identify and quantify the materials present in each voxel. MARS Vision is used to visualise and analyse the volumetric attenuation and material data interactively. MARS technology has been applied successfully to generate promising results in a number of pre-clinical scenarios, including using non-functionalised gold nanoparticles for measuring angiogenesis; functionalised metallic nanoparticles for drug delivery in ovarian and breast cancer; the imaging of excised carotid plaque tissue to identify the lipid core, areas of calcification and ulceration; the visualisation of titanium scaffolds in bone; quantifying biomarkers of cartilage and joint health; and also for the validation of novel pharmaceuticals.

An ankle and wrist have been scanned using MARS and a human clinical trial is underway. This non-destructive imaging modality is set to make a mark globally by significantly improving the diagnostic information in a number of diseases including cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, joint replacement, and cancer.

Hannah has a PhD in Biochemistry focusing on the inflammatory properties of atherosclerotic plaque and imaging the key hallmarks of the disease. She currently works for MARS Bioimaging Ltd as a Clinical Applications Researcher providing support to existing and prospective customers.