Research & Innovation Services

Imaging technology transfer – helping to diagnose dementia

KTA Knowledge Transfer Fellowship Award

Dept of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust
Prof Cathryn Mitchell

Play the video Imaging Technology Transfer

“The project has helped us pool our skills, those at the local hospital and at the University, opening up an opportunity to solve a real problem aimed at improving patient care.”

Nathan Smith, Knowledge Transfer Fellow, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Bath

“The project to enable the transfer of a 'normal' brain perfusion database between different hospital sites has shown the strength that exists in the collaboration between medical physicists, who can identify clinical problems, and University staff who have the expertise to provide answers.”

Martyn Evans, Head of Nuclear Medicine, Royal United Hospital, Bath

Challenge

Single photon emission computerised tomography (SPECT) scanning can help diagnose a number of medical conditions, including those that require the imaging of blood flow in the brain.  Clinicians use SPECT scans to help diagnose dementia in patients. Ideally, clinicians support their diagnoses by referring to statistical comparisons of patients’ scans with those from a ‘normal’ patient database.  Such databases are costly and rare. Their usefulness can be greatly extended if databases, created from scans using one SPECT imaging system, can be ‘translated’ for comparison with scans made using another SPECT imaging system.

Solution

Martyn Evans, Head of Nuclear Medicine at the Royal United Hospital (RUH) in Bath, approached the University to adapt and transfer a normal patient database from one SPECT camera system to another. Such a method aims to transfer images so that they lose the nuances of one camera system and acquire the characteristics of the other, while maintaining the salient features of the underlying brain images. The method is described mathematically as a mapping. Data for mapping between Frenchay Hospital’s and RUH’s cameras were gathered by collecting matched pairs of images of a hardware brain phantom (a construction of tissue-equivalent plastic that mimics properties of a human brain).

Benefits and outcomes

  • For this and future projects, a working relationship has been established between the University’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, the RUH’s Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering, and Robin Holmes of the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust.
  • The RUH will soon be in a position to use its SPECT camera system to help diagnose and specify types of dementia using best current practice. Ultimately, this will help improve the healthcare for those living in the Bath area.
  • The mapping process pioneered in this project may have much wider application in validating other SPECT and medical imaging systems.

  
Project team

Professor Cathryn Mitchell, Principal Investigator, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Dr Manuchehr Soleimani, Co-Investigator, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Dr Nathan Smith, KT Fellow, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Robin Holmes, KT Mentor, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust
Martyn Evans, Head of Nuclear Medicine at the Royal United Hospital, Bath
Sarah Cade, Royal United Hospital, Bath


Funded by the University of Bath’s EPSRC Knowledge Transfer Account.