IOP Project

A better signal/noise ratio for SPECT: Are medicines active where they are meant to be?

Projectnumber: IPD067766
Contact: Prof. dr. ir. A.J.P. Theuwissen
Phone: +31 (0)15 278 94 64

The development of effective therapies against diseases such as Alzheimer, Parkinson and brain tumours has proven to be extremely difficult. However, progress has been made in this field and new medicines do become available. Medical researchers would now like to know where the medicine goes to in the body. Does the substance reach its intended destination? And if it does arrive there, is it then effective?


It is now possible to locate the area of the efficacy and the effectiveness of medicines, but it is not easy to do so. To find this answer in mice, the laboratory animals with cancer have to be killed first. Researchers then have to freeze them and slice them up in thin slivers to study the tissue under the microscope. “And then the result is still nothing more than a picture taken at a given moment” says Prof Albert Theuwissen, professor in Solid State Image Sensors at the Delft University of Technology. “We want to make the effectiveness of medicine visible in vivo in mice and humans, and be able to follow the process over time. Labelling the medicines with very low doses of gamma rays and continuing with the development of the Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) offers this possibility.”


The current SPECT cameras are large and have to be cooled down to -60ºC to give a useful image. A drastic improvement in the signal/noise ratio of the camera sensor makes miniaturisation possible and cuts down on the need for cooling. “To achieve this we have about ten possible directions to pursue in search of a solution for the problem. Four PhD-researchers will be selected and they will then have the opportunity to research the best options. This may eventually lead to a further increase in the effectiveness of medicine research for some diseases that are difficult to treat.”

The description of this project is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file:

Adobe Acrobat PDF file  SN PD 3 (104 KB)


Delft University of Technology
University Medical Centre in Utrecht