Ontario molecular imaging researchers net $700K

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Two molecular imaging scientists with the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI) have received a $700,000 grant from the Ontario Research Fund for Research Excellence that will help them develop new PET imaging technology to aid cancer research.

John Rowlands, PhD, scientific director for TBRRI and adjunct professor at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Alla Reznik, PhD, TBRRI scientist and Canada research chair in physics of molecular imaging and assistant professor at Lakehead, will use the grant to fund part of a $2.2 million project involving PET imaging research.

“Current whole-body PET scanners use bulky, expensive components that, while highly effective at detecting many types of disease, can still be improved in terms of image resolution and sensitivity. We are developing a new PET detector that uses advanced solid-state technology that will offer both high sensitivity and higher spatial resolution,” said Reznik.

“The high spatial resolution means clinicians can better detect very small tumors. This is crucial for the detection of early stages of cancer and, often, for prevention of metastatic cancer,” she added.

Rowlands and Reznik received the grant as part of a $7.4 million Ontario Preclinical Imaging Consortium, a group composed of 24 researchers based mainly in Toronto and led by Stuart Foster, MD, of Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto.