Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

New Zealand scientists develop First-ever colour X-ray

New Zealand scientists develop First-ever colour X-ray

Recently there is a remarkable invention that has come in which the X-ray will unveil much more than just the bones inside you.

This is now a reality, thanks to a New-Zealand company that scanned, for the first time, a human body using a breakthrough colour medical scanner based on the Medipix3 technology developed at CERN. Because of this innovative form of x-raying, the images produced are reliable with high contrast and high resolution making the technology ideal for use in the medical field. They were originally created to track particles accurately at the Large Hadron Collider and, due to their precision, have shown enormous potential in medicine.

Father and son scientists Professors Phil and Anthony Butler from Canterbury and Otago Universities spent a decade building and refining their product. The new imaging technique incorporates technology developed at nuclear research center CERN and produces clearer and more accurate X-ray pictures than ever before. The Medipix3 chip works equally with a sensor of a digital camera, but it identifies and calculates the particles are hitting each pixel when a shutter opens. The latter together with more than 20 research institutes forms the third generation of Medipix collaboration.

According to their official website MARS, scanners generate multi-energy images with high spatial resolution and low noise. In the case of the 3D scanner, a license agreement has been established between CERN, on behalf of Medipix3 collaboration and MARS Bioimaging Ltd. Because the chip is enhanced with custom data-processing algorithms, as the x-rays pass through the different materials that make a body, it is able to detect the change in wavelengths.

While it is not available in hospitals or doctors' offices quite yet, a small version of the scanner is already being used in studies covering cancer, vascular diseases, bone and joint health, heart attacks, and strokes.

In the next few months, the x-ray scanner will undergo its first clinical trial with orthopedic and rheumatology patients in Christchurch, New Zealand. Initial results from these studies suggested that MARS scanners will provide more accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment. Philip said the technology sets the MARS scanner apart because it produces images no other x-ray machine tool can achieve.

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