Abbaszadeh gains $2M NIH grant to design imaging scanner for head and neck cancer
NPRE Assistant Prof. Shiva Abbaszadeh’s research to develop a high spatial resolution imaging scanner that will assist doctors treating head and neck cancer patients has gained a $2 million National Institutes of Health award.
Abbaszadeh, an expert in radiation detection, proposes a device that will accurately determine the extent of the disease, detect smaller lymph nodes, and assess cancer recurrence earlier.
“Current head and neck cancer diagnosis and treatment planning suffers from poor spatial resolution of whole-body positron emission tomography (WB-PET) scans,” Abbaszadeh said. “In the neck, where tissue layers are thin, the spatial resolution of WB-PET (4-6 mm) is not sufficient to evaluate small lymph nodes (<5 mm), establish how far the tumor has invaded locally, and guide the decision to resect a tumor rather than irradiate and deliver chemotherapy.
“In this project, we seek to address this problem by translating high resolution radiation detection technology to head and neck imaging,” Abbaszadeh continued.
The project research team consists of Abbaszadeh’s research group from her Radiological Instrumentation Laboratory at NPRE, and eV Products Inc., a world leader in semiconductors for radiation detection.
“We will pursue the design, development, optimization, characterization, and validation of a dedicated head and neck PET scanner,” she said. “The proposed system will be the first head and neck scanner to exhibit features as small as 1 mm with high photon sensitivity, enabled by the use of high energy and spatial resolution properties of cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) crystals.”
The system will be integrated into a transportable stage and will be designed not to interfere with the conventional workflow of the WB-PET scan procedure. Additionally, the system can be used for dynamic PET studies.
Abbaszadeh’s team will collaborate with Dr. Deana McDonagh, professor of industrial design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Dr. Jinyi Qi, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of California-Davis. “Dr. McDonagh will provide advice on empathic design strategies and help with specifying requirements for the gantry design. Dr. Qi will provide feedback on image reconstruction strategies and image registration,” Abbaszadeh said. “In the final year of the project, we will collaborate with Dr. (Brett) Yockey and Dr. (Daniel) Barnett from Carle Foundation Hospital. A study consisting of 20 patients will be conducted to evaluate the performance of the developed prototype and validate the potential benefits.
Abbaszadeh’s graduate student, Mohan Li, has gained a C★STAR Graduate Fellowship to conduct research on the project. The Cancer Scholars for Translational and Applied Research Graduate Fellowships, awarded from a partnership of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carle Foundation Hospital, are designed for graduate students pursuing a career in cancer-based translational research.
Learn more about NPRE by checking out our YouTube videos!