Enhancement of small cancer x-ray detectability by specific contrast agent delivery

The importance of early detection of cancer is indisputable, and small tumors are usually detected by radiographic, tomographic, MRI and dual-modality scanning techniques. Current radiography and tomography are limited in detecting very small tumors, due to the limited contrast difference exhibited by malignant and benign tissues. In an effort to improve early-cancer detection, a multidisciplinary research with biologists and organic chemists at the Weizmann Institute attempted to improve detectability of small tumors, by enhancing their contrast under x-ray imaging. The study involved, on the one hand, the development of new contrast agents, specifically delivered to cancerous tissue, and on the other hand, an R&D on detectors of digital mammography. The latter incorporated gas-avalanche visible-light imaging concepts for recording information from digital-imaging phosphor screens.