Kromek awarded three-year project to deliver molecular breast imaging device

Innovate UK-backed project with Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust utilises Kromek’s CZT-based SPECT detectors to improve detection of breast cancer

The three-year programme will look at ways of improving breast cancer screening technologies using CZT-based SPECT detectors

Kromek has announced it has been awarded funding from Innovate UK for a three-year programme to deliver a Low Dose Molecular Breast Imaging technology based on its CZT-based SPECT detectors.

The project, commencing in the summer, is worth £1.4m and is being run in conjunction with Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Our innovative SPECT detectors are capable of significantly lowering radiation doses, thereby offering cost savings for health services and, crucially, making enhanced detection and early diagnosis of breast cancer accessible on a much-wider scale

In the first phase of the project, Kromek will utilise new developments in the Company’s CZT-based SPECT detector technology to reduce the required dose of radiation in molecular breast imaging, a cutting-edge technology which uses a radioactive tracer to identify tumours.

In this imaging technique, the tracer concentrates more heavily in malignant breast tissue, allowing the tumour to be easily identified, irrespective of breast density.

By partnering with breast cancer experts at the Newcastle trust for the development, the team will ensure the technology is tuned to clinical and patient needs.

The device will subsequently be used in a pilot study with the Newcastle hospitals to demonstrate the clinical benefits of incorporating Kromek’s SPECT detectors.

Since its introduction 30 years ago, the breast screening programme in the UK has relied principally on X-ray mammography, a technique which is effective only when there is a significant difference between the density of a cancer tumour and the surrounding breast tissue.

For over a third of women, their breast tissue is sufficiently dense that mammography is unable to clearly image tumours, resulting in undiagnosed cancers.

By leveraging its SPECT detector technology to develop a functional low-dose device, Kromek will help unlock the potential for molecular breast imaging, thereby improving detection of cancerous breast tissue in women with denser breast structures.

Dr Arnab Basu, chief executive of Kromek, said: “This project is further evidence that CZT-based detectors are becoming a core technology in replacing legacy diagnostic products across the medical imaging sector.

Providing patient care which is safe and of the highest quality is a key priority for us and by working collaboratively in this way, we are able to ensure new, advanced treatments are as safe as they can be

“Our innovative SPECT detectors are capable of significantly lowering radiation doses, thereby offering cost savings for health services and, crucially, making enhanced detection and early diagnosis of breast cancer accessible on a much-wider scale.

“We look forward to collaborating with Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as well as our OEM partner to carry out this vital work.”

Louise Robson, joint acting chief Executive for the Newcastle trust, added: “Providing patient care which is safe and of the highest quality is a key priority for us and by working collaboratively in this way, we are able to ensure new, advanced treatments are as safe as they can be.

“We welcome working with Kromek on this exciting initiative, and hope to see many more similar ventures which benefit patient care, whilst placing the North East firmly on the map as a leader in healthcare innovation.”

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