MARS pre-clinical imaging: The benefits of small pixels and good energy data

Philip H. Butler, Sikiru A. Adebileje, Steven D. Alexander, Maya R. Amma, Marzieh Amjomrouz, Fatemeh Asghariomabad, Ali Atharifard, James Atlas, Benjamin Bamford, Stephen T. Bell, Srinidhi Bheesette, Anthony P.H. Butler, Pierre Carbonez, Claire Chambers, Alexander I. Chernoglazov, Jennifer A. Clark, Jonathan S. Crighton, Shishir Dahal, Jérôme Damet, Neils J.A. De RuiterRobert M.N. Doesburg, Neryda Duncan, Nooshin Ghodsian, Steven P. Gieseg, Brian P. Goulter, Sam Gurney, Joseph L. Healy, Praveenkumar Kanithi, Tracy Kirkbride, Stuart P. Lansley, Chiara Lowe, V. B.H. Mandalika, Emmanuel Marfo, Aysouda Matanaghi, Mahdieh Moghiseh, David Palmer, Raj K. Panta, Hannah M. Prebble, Aamir Y. Raja, Yann Sayous, Peter Renaud, Nanette Schleich, Emily Searle, Jereena S. Sheeja, Rayhan Uddin, Lieza Vanden Broeke, V. S. Vivek, E. Peter Walker, Michael F. Walsh, Manoj Wijesooriya, W. Ross Younger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Images from MARS spectral CT scanners show that there is much diagnostic value from using small pixels and good energy data. MARS scanners use energy-resolving photon-counting CZT Medipix3RX detectors that measure the energy of photons on a five-point scale and with a spatial resolution of 110 microns. The energy information gives good material discrimination and quantification. The 3D reconstruction gives a voxel size of 70 microns. We present images of pre-clinical specimens, including excised atheroma, bone and joint samples, and nanoparticle contrast agents along with images from living humans. Images of excised human plaque tissue show the location and extent of lipid and calcium deposition within the artery wall. The presence of intraplaque haemorrhage, where the blood leaks into the artery wall following a rupture, has also been visualised through the detection of iron. Several clinically important bone and joint problems have been investigated including: site-specific bone mineral density, bone-metal interfaces (spectral CT reduces metal artefacts), cartilage health using ionic contrast media, gout and pseudogout crystals, and microfracture assessment using nanoparticles. Metallic nanoparticles have been investigated as a cellular marker visible in MARS images. Cell lines of different cancer types (Raji and SK-BR3) were incubated with monoclonal antibody-functionalised AuNPs (Herceptin and Rituximab). We identified and quantified the labelled AuNPs demonstrating that Herceptin-functionalised AuNPs bound to SK-BR3 breast cancer cells but not to the Raji lymphoma cells. In vivo human images show the bone microstructure. Fat, water, and calcium concentrations are quantifiable.

Original languageBritish English
Title of host publicationDevelopments in X-Ray Tomography XII
EditorsBert Muller, Ge Wang
ISBN (Electronic)9781510629196
StatePublished - 2019
Event12th SPIE Conference on Developments in X-Ray Tomography 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 13 Aug 201915 Aug 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


Conference12th SPIE Conference on Developments in X-Ray Tomography 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Atheroma
  • Bone health
  • Cancer
  • Nanoparticles
  • Photon counting spectral CT


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