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Mini Gamma Camera Developed, Spin-Off Company Formed

Mini gamma ray camera

Mini gamma ray camera (University of Leicester)

1 June 2015. Physicists and medical researchers at two universities in the U.K. designed a hand-held camera that performs gamma ray imaging, normally requiring a powerful room-sized device for diagnosing tumors and other medical functions. The team from Universities of Leicester and Nottingham also formed a spin-off company, Gamma Technologies Ltd., to take the device to market.

The researchers designed the mini gamma ray camera as an alternative to current full-size systems requiring an entire and dedicated room to operate. Unlike X-rays that provide images of the body’s anatomy and structure, gamma ray cameras track bodily processes and functions. Gamma ray cameras record high resolution images from radioactive tracers injected in the body that illuminate in response to gamma rays emitted by the camera.

The new device is designed to provide the functions of gamma ray cameras, but at the patient’s bed side, as well as in intensive care and surgical units. Because of its small size and dual gamma- and optical-imaging capabilities, the developers believe the new device can improve the diagnosis of tumors, identification of lymph node problems, and imaging of disorders in smaller organs, such as tear duct blockages. The developers say the device could also visualize delivery of drugs in the patient.

The Leicester part of the team is led by physicist John Lees, with funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, a science funding agency in the U.K. The council offers the Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme or Clasp that supports commercialization of its discoveries, and funded the mini gamma camera project. The Nottingham group is led by medical school physicist Alan Perkins.

Lees, Perkins, and others formed Gamma Technologies Ltd. to commercialize their patented invention. Perkins is the company’s interim CEO and clinical director, while Lees is the technical director. The company says it already raised more than £250,000 ($US 381,000) in early venture funds.

Gamma Technologies, located in University of Leicester’s Space Research Centre, says the mini gamma ray camera is is still a prototype, but is being tested with healthy volunteers at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham.

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