Tag Archives: bioimaging

Full-Body Scanner

Faster, Clearer Diagnostic Imaging with 3D Full-Body Scanner Arriving Soon

EXPLORER is a full-body scanner that combines x-ray computed tomography (CT) with positron emission tomography (PET) that produces the world’s first head-to-toe medical scans. With this new technology, imaging studies are generated 40 times faster than existing PET scans. The scanner was produced after years of exhaustive research, combining the efforts of scientists at UC Davis and world-class engineers from Shanghai-based United Imaging Healthcare (UIH).

EXPLORER can produce a full-body scan in as little as 30 seconds, whereas in the past, less capable scans required as much as 40 minutes to produce images which weren’t nearly as detailed or sensitive. EXPLORER is approximately 40 times more sensitive than even the best current commercial system used for medical scans, with the added benefit of much lower radiation emission from the full-body scanner as it catches radiation more readily than current imaging machines.

Total body PET scans are currently performed in segments, or slices, which take a minimum of 30-40 minutes to develop and then combined to reveal a 3D image of the body. EXPLORER captures the image of the entire body as little as one second as radiotracers are detected and followed from the outside as they circulate within the body.

Applications of the full-body scanner include studying the metabolism of drugs and observing cellular respiration in real time for research purposes. Cancer progression can be tracked in actual time, not to mention the efficacy of a new therapy on multi-drug resistant tumors. Due to the efficient absorption of radiation by the machine, use in pediatric populations shows great promise, who generally have far less tolerance to radiation emission than adults.

Projected use of EXPLORER on a large scale is June 2019 in Sacramento, California. Initially, the first subjects of the full-body scanner will be research participants, though efforts are underway to expedite human trials so it can be available for commercial use.

Silk-Encased Fluorescent Nanodiamonds May Hold Key to Precise Medication Delivery

Scientists from Australia and the United States have discovered a new method to safely view the internal workings of a cell and potentially target a region in the body for precise medication delivery by using silk-encased fluorescent nanodiamonds.

Diamonds are solid substances that are comprised of geometrically organized carbons—the basic atoms of life—and thus stable and harmless. The tiny diamonds can be inserted into living cells and, based on the “flaw” in the gem, absorb light and then emit that light in different wavelengths depending on the material in the nanodiamond—a process called fluorescence.

Silk was incorporated as a coating because the edges around the gem are rough and can get snared in the cell membrane. Lipids, organic molecules found in fats and the basis of cell membrane structure, were originally used to counteract the rough edges, but silk was the better choice due to its transparent, flexible, harmless, and biodegradable nature.

When tested on living tissue, the team of researchers found the “glow” from the silk-encased fluorescent nanodiamonds were 2-4 times brighter because of the silk material and was found to be nontoxic and non-inflammatory, after it left no damage in its wake in the body even after it remained implanted for two weeks.

Silk-encased fluorescent nanodiamonds can equip physicians and researchers with a new approach to viewing cellular activity as it reacts to a new drug. They may also carry medications, such as antibiotics, to a targeted region of the body by having the silk-diamond amalgam directly implanted into the infected area and decrease overall body toxicity levels. The silk, in addition, can be arranged to deteriorate at a predetermined rate for timed-release medication delivery.

Because of their “glowing” nature, silk-encased fluorescent nanodiamonds are lighting the way in the fields of bioimaging, biosensing, and drug delivery mechanisms, and the team hopes to incorporate their findings in medical practice soon.