"This technology sets the machine apart diagnostically because its small pixels and accurate energy resolution mean that this new imaging tool is able to get images that no other imaging tool can achieve", Phil Butler said in a CERN news release.
Scientists in New Zealand has performed the first ever 3D colour X-ray on humans, with the support of CERN physics lab. Medipix is a family of chips that are utilized for particle detection and imaging.
This, in turn, allows getting high-resolution and high-contrast pictures. While its shutter is open, it detects and counts individual sub-atomic particles as and when they collide with pixels.
The developers, who founded the firm MARS Bioimaging, agreed with CERN on the use of this technology in a commercial unit capable of taking pictures, which represent several types of tissue.
Phil Butler co-developed the scanner with his son Anthony Butler, a radiologist and professor at the Universities of Canterbury and Otago. The Medipix3 chip is now the most advanced chip available. The system then analyzes the spectroscopic data with algorithms, creating a three-dimensional color image.
The Medipix chip was initially developed to be used in CERN's Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator that detected Higgs boson or the "God particle".
"X-ray spectral information allows health professionals to measure the different components of body parts such as fat, water, calcium, and disease markers".
"In all of these studies, promising early results suggest that when spectral imaging is routinely used in clinics it will enable more accurate diagnosis and personalization of treatment", Anthony Butler concluded in the statement. The technology is already available in the form of a small-bore scanner for carrying out medical research. As Aurélie Pezous, CERN Knowledge Transfer Officer states, "It is always satisfying to see our work leveraging benefits for patients around the world". MARS Bioimaging is now moving on to clinical trials with scans of orthopedic and rheumatology patients.