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Project C.1.3

Fig. C.1.2: Comparison of a conventional absorption (left) and novel phase-contrast CT image of a human hand (ex-vivo) [Donath et al, Investigative Radiology, 2010]. This work was carried out in collaboration with Siemens Healthcare/Forchheim.

Earlier tumor detection in in-vivo small-animal models by phase-contrast CT at compact X-ray sources

The goal of the newly proposed project is to make use of phase-contrast X-ray imaging for earlier – and more reliable – tumour detection using compact X-ray sources. On the basis of our proof-of-principle studies using highly brilliant synchrotron phasecontrast X-ray imaging (see Fig. C.1.2) we now propose to focus on more compact X-ray sources, with the final goal of establishing an in-vivo phase-contrast CT setup for studying small-animal tumour models at the future brilliant X-ray source (BRIX) in CALA. The project serves as a basis for combining advanced X-ray imaging modalities with improved image-guided particle therapy in Project C.3.5.

We plan a staged approach comprising work at existing lab-based phase-contrast imaging facilities at TUM and the existing compact synchrotron source in Palo Alto (USA). Finally, we shall transfer these results to the BRIX / SPECTRE source, which will be installed in CALA. Using different small-animal tumour models we will investigate the conditions for improving cancer diagnostics. Depending on the tissue and cancer type identifying tumours can be very challenging as the grey levels of healthy and tumourous tissue may be very similar. Hence, improved image contrast through phase-contrast techniques can make a difference in the cases where standard CT is insufficient.