A hardware investigation of robotic SPECT for functional and molecular imaging onboard radiation therapy systems.
PURPOSE: To construct a robotic SPECT system and to demonstrate its capability to image a thorax phantom on a radiation therapy flat-top couch, as a step toward onboard functional and molecular imaging in radiation therapy. METHODS: A robotic SPECT imaging system was constructed utilizing a gamma camera detector (Digirad 2020tc) and a robot (KUKA KR150 L110 robot). An imaging study was performed with a phantom (PET CT Phantom(TM)), which includes five spheres of 10, 13, 17, 22, and 28 mm diameters. The phantom was placed on a flat-top couch. SPECT projections were acquired either with a parallel-hole collimator or a single-pinhole collimator, both without background in the phantom and with background at 1/10th the sphere activity concentration. The imaging trajectories of parallel-hole and pinhole collimated detectors spanned 180° and 228°, respectively. The pinhole detector viewed an off-centered spherical common volume which encompassed the 28 and 22 mm spheres. The common volume for parallel-hole system was centered at the phantom which encompassed all five spheres in the phantom. The maneuverability of the robotic system was tested by navigating the detector to trace the phantom and flat-top table while avoiding collision and maintaining the closest possible proximity to the common volume. The robot base and tool coordinates were used for image reconstruction. RESULTS: The robotic SPECT system was able to maneuver parallel-hole and pinhole collimated SPECT detectors in close proximity to the phantom, minimizing impact of the flat-top couch on detector radius of rotation. Without background, all five spheres were visible in the reconstructed parallel-hole image, while four spheres, all except the smallest one, were visible in the reconstructed pinhole image. With background, three spheres of 17, 22, and 28 mm diameters were readily observed with the parallel-hole imaging, and the targeted spheres (22 and 28 mm diameters) were readily observed in the pinhole region-of-interest imaging. CONCLUSIONS: Onboard SPECT could be achieved by a robot maneuvering a SPECT detector about patients in position for radiation therapy on a flat-top couch. The robot inherent coordinate frames could be an effective means to estimate detector pose for use in SPECT image reconstruction.
Yan, S; Bowsher, J; Tough, M; Cheng, L; Yin, F-F
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