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Bonus -- Cameras Designed to Strengthen Nuclear Security Can Also Detect Cancer

November 17, 2010 - 4:02pm


Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and Hybridyne Imaging Technologies, Inc. recently won the 2010 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation of the Year. The award is given out each year to a company that finds a new application for a unique technology. With funding from the Energy Department’s NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and Verification Research and Development, BNL conducted research that ultimately led to the development of  -- "ProxiScan," a compact, high-resolution gamma camera that can now be used to detect prostate cancer.  

The "ProxiScan" cameras rely on cadmium-zinc-telluride (CZT) gamma-ray detection material, which is incorporated into tools to help prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and crack down on nuclear smuggling across the world. With a spin off of the same technology, the cameras can be used to identify cancer tissue in prostates at an early stage, which is critical for successful diagnosis and early treatment. 
As NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington said, "Promoting strong science and investing in research and development is critical to improving our ability to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and material. It is particularly rewarding to see those same technologies used to save lives on a daily basis."
While the cameras are currently used to diagnose prostate cancer, they can also detect cervical, colorectal and breast cancers -- and can be optimized as a surgical probe that guides the removal of cancerous tumors.
You can learn more about this remarkable new technology here.