U.S.-Israel commission awards GE grant for nuclear medicine R&D

February 15, 1995

Vendor to develop solid-state gamma cameraGE Medical Systems last week announced that it and two other companieshave been awarded grants sponsored by the U.S. and Israeli governmentsto develop a new type of nuclear medicine detector. The

Vendor to develop solid-state gamma camera

GE Medical Systems last week announced that it and two other companieshave been awarded grants sponsored by the U.S. and Israeli governmentsto develop a new type of nuclear medicine detector. The detectorscould lead to the development of solid-state digital gamma cameras,according to GEMS officials.

Digital gamma cameras have been one of the hottest new developmentsin nuclear medicine, and at last year's Radiological Society ofNorth America meeting, several vendors unveiled new digital detectortechnology. Debate has raged over the definition of digital, however,with several vendors taking the position that gamma cameras thatuse photomultiplier tubes and scintillation crystals are not trulydigital but rather analog-digital hybrids.

GEMS of Milwaukee had been strangely silent in the digitalfray, until last week. If the vendor's research proves fruitful,it could leapfrog the competition with a product that will eraseany doubts about digital gamma camera architecture.

The funding GEMS will receive is the first grant issued fromthe U.S.-Israel Science and Technology Commission, a joint projectof the U.S. and Israeli governments established in 1993 to fostertechnological exchange between the countries. GEMS applied forthe grant in cooperation with the eV Products division of II-VIInc., a developer of hybrid preamplifiers and radiation detectors.Isorad of Israel is also working with the companies.

The GEMS/eV Products team beat out 100 other competitors towin the award, according to Micha Harish, Israeli Minister ofIndustry and Trade, who announced the grant at a press conferencewith U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ronald Brown. GEMS and eV Productsare eligible to receive $2.2 million from the commission, whileIsorad is eligible for $1.8 million.

The research will involve the development of cadmium zinc telluridegamma camera detectors, according to Richard Brown, technicalsales support manager at GEMS. The detectors will take a gammaphoton and convert it into an electrical impulse without the useof PMTs.

"This is a solid-state camera," Brown told SCAN."The fact is you can't have a digital device with an analogvacuum tube in the chain. Here, the only thing that would be analogwould be the gamma photon. This should give us a very remarkableproduct."

GEMS expects that the grant will provide approximately halfthe funding needed for basic research to develop a solid-statedigital gamma camera. Brown declined to estimate when such a productmight reach the market.