Quantative image analysis of positron emmisions tomography for inflammation research

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Medicine


Lung diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the UK; responsible for 20% of all deaths each year. Diffuse Parenchymal Lung Diseases (DPLDs) describe a spectrum of different diseases; characterised by widespread inflammation and fibrosis, they represent a significant burden to the healthcare sector. Development of effective therapeutic treatments has been stifled by a lack of sensitive biomarkers. There is considerable interest in the role of imaging biomarkers in the field of pulmonary diseases, this is in part due to the shortcomings of existing methods to evaluate lung function. Molecular imaging, in particular, may be able to elucidate the fundamental molecular basis of lung diseases and promote the translation into effective therapies.

18F-FDG PET has been established within the research community as a technique that may allow the in-vivo measurement of lung inflammation. However, there has been criticisms of 18F-FDG PET in the context of pulmonary inflammation which are compounded by the technical challenges of imaging the lungs. There is currently no accepted method of quantification of 18F-FDG PET scans to assess lung inflammation; indeed, the difficulty of providing appropriate validation for the imaging techniques has contributed to the lack of standardisation. Taken together this limits its potential use as a biomarker.

The objective of this project is to develop an image analysis pipeline to assess lung inflammation, compare competing analysis techniques and validate the models used. This will be achieved through two studies: a prospective study of sarcoidosis patients and healthy volunteers; and a retrospective study of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) patients.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509103/1 01/10/2015 31/03/2022
1685763 Studentship EP/N509103/1 04/01/2016 31/03/2019 Laurence Vass