Jefferson Lab/Hampton University partnership results in new medical instrumentation center

No self-respecting Star Trek physician would ever beam down to an alien world without the one piece of equipment essential to 24th century medicine. Because without a medical tricorder, she wouldn't know what's wrong or how to cure it. Then there are the benefits: no cutting, no bleeding, and fast and reliable diagnosis.

Cynthia Keppel, a Jefferson staff scientist and director of Hampton University's new Center for Advanced Medical Instrumentation, says although we're in a new millennium we're not quite yet to the tricorder level. Still, the creation of the Center also known by its acronym CAMI could lead to development of an unprecedented array of portable, hand-held, non-invasive diagnostic devices based on detector technologies refined at Department of Energy's Jefferson Lab. Keppel traces CAMI's genesis to informal discussion she and JLab Detector Group head Stan Majewski had beginning in the mid-1990s.

"Without the Lab there would be no Center," Keppel contends. "CAMI's existence is largely due to Hampton University partnering with JLab for medical instrumentation [projects]. The Detector Group pushes the state of the art and we leverage that expertise from one field to another. It's not just bouncing radiation off particles. It's understanding the interaction of radiation with matter, human or otherwise."

Such collaborations have led to the development of compact gamma cameras adaptations of the sensitive gear used in the Lab's experimental halls to detect subatomic particles that can identify cancerous breast lesions that traditional mammograms have trouble differentiating from healthy breast tissue. The CAMI/JLab partnership has also worked on intraoperative surgical probes for melanoma surgery and a small, stereotactic breast imager that works in conjunction with mammograms to improve identification of suspicious lesions prior to biopsy. That device is currently being evaluated in clinical trials and thus far, based on confirm

Contact: Linda Ware
DOE/Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

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