The Nuclear Medicine department at Central Manchester University Hospitals has an international reputation in research and development, bringing new imaging techniques into use and improving what we do already.
We have particular research interests in nuclear cardiac imaging, imaging of infection and inflammation, radiation dose reduction, and optimising the use of new technology. We are one of only two centres in the UK who perform Rubidium cardiac PET-CT and FDOPA PET-CT in congenital hyperinsulinism.
Research is supported by all members of the team, with our doctors, physicists and radiopharmacists being particularly active.
For more information about getting involved with research at Manchester University Hospitals, click here.
For more information about how researchers at Manchester Royal Infirmary use patient information for research and developing our services, click here.
Here we have included a small selection of our current projects, to give a flavour of the kind of research we do.
PET imaging of vascular inflammation
We are currently involved in several trials looking at how we can image inflammation in blood vessels using PET-CT radiotracers which are taken up in inflamed tissue. Recent research indicates that inflammation plays a significant role in several diseases, and it can be helpful or destructive, sometimes both! We are studying several aspects of inflammation to help answer these questions:
- is the amount of inflammation in blood vessels around the heart related to risk of heart attack?
- is the amount of inflammation in the blood vessels in the neck related to the risk of stroke, and does this change for people with inflammatory conditions that affect other parts of their body (like rheumatoid arthritis)?
- how is inflammation in the brain related to stroke recovery and dementia?
These trials are being conducted in collaboration with doctors and scientists who are based in other parts of Central Manchester University Hospital, at the University of Manchester, and in hospitals and Universities throughout the UK and across the world. They are three examples of how we collaborate nationally and internationally to deliver high-quality research.
This multi-centre trial is looking at whether radiotherapy is as effective as surgery when vulval cancer has spread to the sentinel lymph nodes. We do sentinel node imaging just before surgery; this identifies the pathways along which lymph drains from the tumour into the chain of surrounding lymph nodes. The surgeon will remove the lymph nodes when they remove the tumour and test them for cancer. We hope the trial will prove that the spread of cancer can be controlled with surgery that is less extensive. For more information on this trial, see here.
The GROINSS-VII trial is just one example of trials where we use routine or more novel imaging to plan new treatments or assess how well those treatments are working. We are involved with several trials like this, using gamma cameras, SPECT, SPECT-CT and PET-CT.
Optimisation of image reconstruction, leading to better and faster imaging and patient dose reduction
The way that the radiation detected from the patients is builtup into images is called image reconstruction. Image reconstruction has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years, using a number of mathematical processes to make the images clearer, sharper, and less noisy. We have thoroughly investigated the new software available from our scanner manufacturers and assessed how well it performs and the effect it has on the images our doctors review to help make decisions about the best plan of treatment for each of our patients. We have used new image reconstruction software in several ways:
- to make FDG PET-CT images of the brain, head and neck clearer and sharper, so our doctors are more confident in picking out small details
- to reduce the amount of time it takes to do heart and bone scanning using gamma cameras, whilst maintaining excellent image quality
- to reduce the amount of radioactive tracer given to patients coming for FDG PET-CT oncology scans, whilst maintaining excellent image quality
This project is one example of how we constantly assess and carefully implement new technology to ensure the images we obtain are of the best possible quality, whilst also reducing the radiotracer dose as much as possible and making our imaging service more efficient and more comfortable for our patients.
For a full list of recent publications and presentations, click here.
For information about imaging research by our colleagues and collaborators at the University of Manchester, click here .