Gamma Medica-Ideas Awarded Grant to Develop SPECT/MRI Imaging Instrument

Northridge, CA, October 05, 2006 --( Gamma Medica-Ideas (GM-I) has been awarded a $100,000 grant to develop a SPECT/MRI small animal imaging system. The grant is part of an $850,000 fast-track grant award from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Dr. Douglas Wagenaar, Director of Medical Imaging Research for Gamma Medica-Ideas, said that GM I plans to develop this breakthrough technology in collaboration with Dr. Orhan Nalcioglu, Director of the Tu & Yuen Center for Functional Onco-Imaging and Professor of Radiology, Physics, and Electrical Engineering at the University of California at Irvine; and Dr. Ben Tsui, Professor of Radiology, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Environmental Health Sciences, and Biomedical Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. “Dr. Nalcioglu is one of the world’s leading authorities on MRI,” said Dr. Wagenaar, “and Dr. Tsui is one of the world's leading authorities on SPECT imaging techniques, image reconstruction methods, and image quality assessment studies.”

MRI can acquire highly detailed anatomical images without the use of imaging contrast agents, and can enhance tumor visibility when used with contrast agents. SPECT, the most widely used nuclear medicine technique, employs a variety of radiopharmaceuticals to explore the molecular functions of cells and organs. GM-I and its collaborators plan to develop a dual-modality SPECT/MRI imaging instrument that will be able to acquire high-resolution, co-registered images by combining the functional information from SPECT with the anatomical information from MRI in a way that has never been done before.

Molecular (functional) imaging of small animals became prominent in the last five years with the development of dual modality imaging systems that combine nuclear medicine imaging techniques (PET and SPECT) with CT imaging. Since its introduction, combined nuclear medicine/CT imaging has been a remarkable biomedical, research, and commercial success. However, MRI is an even more powerful anatomical imaging modality than CT (and without the use of ionizing radiation), so combining SPECT with MRI is expected to yield even greater biomedical, research and commercial benefits.

Until recently, a dual SPECT/MRI imaging system was all but impossible to construct because gamma cameras used in SPECT imaging contain vacuum tubes (a practice that dates from the 1950s), and signals from the cameras’ vacuum tubes are severely distorted by an MRI system’s magnetic field. However, GM-I recently introduced a new fully solid-state SPECT gamma camera that has no vacuum tubes. The GM-I gamma camera can be safely positioned within a magnet’s bore, enabling a combined SPECT/MRI imaging system to be designed.

“This SPECT/MRI development is a key step in our quest to bring digital technology to medical imaging” said Dr. Bradley E. Patt, GM-I’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “SPECT/MRI shows great promise for opening up an entirely new medical imaging frontier. We’re grateful to the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering for supporting the development of this important new dual modality molecular imaging system.”

About Gamma Medica-Ideas
Gamma Medica-Ideas (GM-I) designs, develops and manufactures next-generation imaging systems used in diagnostic medicine, medical research, and for security and safety applications. GM-I’s expertise in unique next-generation, integrated front-end electronics allows it to produce some of the world’s only truly digital imaging equipment. The company develops and produces all of its key electrical components and systems, such as:
• Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs);
• Detector modules;
• Camera heads built with unique solid-state technology;
• Systems and software featuring advanced multi-modality image fusion, registration and processing capabilities.

GM-I is a world leader in developing imaging systems that contain two or more imaging modalities. Combining different imaging modalities in single instruments creates imaging tools with powerful diagnostic and research capabilities. GM-I’s products include the LumaGEM® functional breast imaging system for early diagnosis of breast cancer and the FLEX and FLEX Triumph Pre-Clinical Imaging Platforms for medical research and drug development. FLEX systems are used by medical researchers and drug companies that use in vivo imaging techniques and molecular markers to dramatically speed up studies of disease progression and therapy. GM-I’s FLEX and FLEX Triumph systems include:
• X-SPECT® - the market leader in the pre-clinical SPECT category, features gamma cameras with eV-CZT™ detectors, the only commercially available solid-state SPECT pre-clinical imaging system made with eV-CZT;
• X-PET™ - a pre-clinical PET system with a large axial field of view and the highest sensitivity among small animal PET systems;
• X-O™ - a high-speed volume micro-CT instrument.

Any two of the above systems can be combined in the FLEX Triumph imaging gantry, as can all three.

GM-I’s imaging systems are used by some of the world’s leading medical institutions, including Harvard University, Mayo Clinic, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, Switzerland’s Center for Radiopharmaceutical Science, Yale University, and many others.

More information is available at

Gamma Medica-Ideas
Patrick Moody
818-280-0420 ext. 107
In Norway, contact Thomas Langaard at