Low Dose Molecular Breast Imaging

Lead Participant: Kromek Limited


"Breast screening was introduced in the UK almost 30 years ago, and relies principally on x-ray mammography. This technique is effective where there is a significant difference in the density of a cancer tumor and the surrounding breast tissue. Around a third of women have denser breast tissue, such that mammography is unable to clearly image tumors, resulting in undiagnosed cancers. The age for breast screening is gradually extending from 50-70 to 47-73\. As there is a higher prevalence of dense breasts in younger women, the current provision of mammography even less satisfactory.

Molecular breast imaging is a technique whereby a radioactive tracer is used to identify a tumor that is then imaged by a specialist camera. The tracer is concentrated to a much greater extent in malignant breast tissue compared to normal tissue, therefore the malignant tissue shows up as a bright area on the image. Molecular breast imaging currently has the disadvantage of requiring a higher radiation dose than received with a mammogram. The first phase of this project will utilise new developments in detector technology to reduce the requried dose such that it is comparable with mammography. This Low-Dose Moleculuar Breast Imaging (LDMBI) will then be used in a pilot study at Newcastle-upon-Tyne hospital demonstrate the concept.

Alongside the detector development we will assess the public acceptance of this technology, and the necessary changes in the clinical pathway. Changes to national screening services require substantial clinical and economic evidence, and a clinical trial programme will be developed to gather this evidence. The project will deliver a functional device and a clinical trial protocol for future assessment of the clincial efficacy."

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Kromek Limited, Sedgefield £1,137,357 £ 682,415


The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Newcastle Upon Tyne £274,854 £ 274,854


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