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Development of novel non-invasive techniques for the measurement of the input function for dynamic positron emission tomography.


Key facts

Type of research degree
4 year PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (outside UK)
Professor David Buckley and Dr Harry Tsoumpas
Additional supervisors
Dr David Tuch
School of Medicine
Research groups/institutes
Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a quantitative imaging modality that can probe a number of functional and biological processes, depending on the radiolabelled tracer used [1]. Standard clinical PET imaging is followed by analysis using semi-quantitative indices, such as the standardised uptake value, which is used in the majority of clinical assessments in which PET has a role [2]. However, considerably more information can be extracted from dynamic image acquisition protocols, followed by application of appropriate radiotracer kinetic modelling techniques, but the latter approaches have mainly been restricted to drug development and clinical research applications due to their complexity in terms of both protocol design and parameter estimation methodology [3]. One of the key limitations to translate dynamic PET imaging in clinical practice is the need of obtaining arterial blood samples which, in most cases, are essential for kinetic modelling.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>This project proposes a novel approach by measuring non-invasively the radioactivity in the blood stream using a recently developed imaging system. In particular, LIGHTpoint Medical has developed a Hand-Held RadioLuminescence Imaging (HARLI) device which is the world&rsquo;s first system for hand-held imaging of PET tracers [4]. The technology employs direct conversion of beta particles to an optical image. This system could be potentially utilised to provide dynamic quantitative measures of the radioactivity in blood eliminating the need of an arterial catheterisation.</p> <p>The candidate will perform dynamic experiments on 3D printed phantoms [5] and in vivo preclinical experiments using the HARLI system. A variety of radiotracers will be used to demonstrate feasibility of the concept and different preclinical models. Data analysis and software development will be required to ensure a precise and accurate measurement of the input function extraction is achieved from the raw data. The candidate will need to undertake extensive training in preclinical imaging techniques. In addition, s/he will benefit from prior knowledge of the basic principles of radiation and particle physics as well as experimental and software development skills for data manipulation and modelling.</p> <p><strong>References</strong></p> <p>Phelps MA (2000) Positron emission tomography provides molecular imaging of biological processes PNAS 97(16): 9226-9233; doi:10.1073/pnas.97.16.9226</p> <p>Schmidt KC, Turkheimer FE (2002) Kinetic modeling in positron emission tomography,&rdquo; Q J Nucl Med 46:70&ndash;8.</p> <p>Kotasidis FA, Tsoumpas C, Rahmim A (2014) Advanced kinetic modelling strategies: towards adoption in clinical PET imaging. Clin Trnsl Imaging: 2(3): 219-237, doi:10.1007/s40336-014-0069-8</p> <p>Grootendorst MR, Cariati M, Pinder SE, Kothari A, Douek M, Kovacs T, Hamed H, Pawa A, Nimmo F, Owen J, Ramalingam V, Sethi S, Mistry S, Vyas K, Tuch DS, Britten A, Van Hemelrijck M, Cook GJ, Sibley-Allen C, Allen S, Purushotham A (2017) Intraoperative Assessment of Tumor Resection Margins in Breast-Conserving Surgery Using 18F-FDG Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging: A First-in-Human Feasibility Study. J Nucl Med 58(6):891-898</p> <p>Filippou V, Tsoumpas C (2018) Recent advances on the development of phantoms using 3D printing for imaging with CT, MRI, PET, SPECT and Ultrasound. Med Phys: At press</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Please note these are not standalone projects and applicants must apply to the PhD academy directly.</p> <p>Applications can be made at any time. To apply for this project applicants should complete a<a href=""> Faculty Application Form</a> and send this alongside a full academic CV, degree transcripts (or marks so far if still studying) and degree certificates to the Faculty Graduate School <a href=""></a></p> <p>We also require 2 academic references to support your application. Please ask your referees to send these <a href="">references</a> on your behalf, directly to <a href=""></a></p> <p>If you have already applied for other projects using the Faculty Application Form this academic session you do not need to complete this form again. Instead you should email fmhgrad to inform us you would like to be considered for this project.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

A degree in biological sciences, dentistry, medicine, midwifery, nursing, psychology or a good honours degree in a subject relevant to the research topic. A Masters degree in a relevant subject may also be required in some areas of the Faculty. For entry requirements for all other research degrees we offer, please contact us.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Medicine and Health minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests for PhD, MSc, MPhil, MD are: &acirc;&euro;&cent; British Council IELTS - score of 7.0 overall, with no element less than 6.5 &acirc;&euro;&cent; TOEFL iBT - overall score of 100 with the listening and reading element no less than 22, writing element no less than 23 and the speaking element no less than 24.

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information please contact the Graduate School Office<br /> e:<a href=""></a>, t: +44 (0)113 343 8221.</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>