Get a 3D x-ray and a color


CATEGORY: Medical advances BRAND: Universidad de Canterbury

This new technique, achieved by scientists from the University of Canterbury and Otago, helps to face the different types of oncological problems and heart diseases thanks to the great amount of details that it offers.

A revolutionary new color and 3D medical scanner, invented in New Zealand by scientists from the University of Canterbur and Otago, will revolutionize medical images around the world that offer many more details of the chemical components of the body.




In the next few months, orthopedic and rheumatology patients from Christchurch are scanned by the machine, for the first time, in a clinical trial. The MARS spectral X-ray scanner, invented by Professor Phil Butler, of the University of Canterbury, and the radiologist and also a professor at the University of Otago, Anthony Butler; is the result of an adaptation of the technology used by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in the search for the "particle of God" in a medical scanner.


The MARS CT scanner produces images with significantly improved diagnostic information. It measures the X-ray spectrum to produce color images instead of black and white images, and different components of body parts such as fat, water, calcium and disease markers.


Small versions of the scanner that can house tissue samples are in use in research institutions around the world. Professor Phil Butler was the first person to be scanned.


The next step in the development is an impending clinical trial in which orthopedic and rheumatology patients from Christchurch will be scanned. This will allow the MARS team to compare the images produced by their scanner with the technology currently used in New Zealand hospitals.


The Butlers and their scientific team have received support to develop this technology during the last decade of the Universities of Otago and Canterbury; the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment of New Zealand and the company MARS Bioimaging Ltd (MBI) has commercialized the product.


Professor Anthony Butler says that "after a decade of development, it is truly exciting to have reached a point where it is clear that the technology could be used for routine patient care."



In In the photograph, Professor Phil Butler's doll (including his watch). ©


"Traditional black and white X-rays only allow measurement of the density and shape of an object," suggests Professor Anthony Butler. "Until now, researchers have been using a small version of the MARS scanner to study cancer, bone and joint health, and vascular diseases that cause heart attacks and strokes." In all of these studies, the first promising results suggest that when spectral images are routinely used in clinics, they allow a more accurate diagnosis and personalization of the treatment. "


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