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NPL wins award

NPL and Lightpoint Medical win The Engineer: Collaborate to Innovate Award

NPL's Nuclear Metrology, Medical Radiation Physics and Medical Radiation Science Groups helped develop a phantom for Lightpoint Medical, based in the Chilterns, using Industrial Strategy Challenge Funding, to test prototypes of laparoscopic gamma-ray detection probe.

Lightpoint Medical's probe is used for intraoperative cancer detection of metastasised prostate cancer in the surrounding lymph nodes through the identification of cancerous lymph nodes that have taken up a radiopharmaceutical. A key requirement was to observe the effect interferences from gamma-ray scattering from the pelvis on the successful identification of lymph nodes that had taken up a radiopharmaceutical.

NPL developed a novel bone-tissue equivalent thermoplastic for the phantom. This plastic replicates the gamma-ray scattering properties of dense bone tissue. Through 3D printing technologies and this novel bone-tissue equivalent thermoplastic a full-sized pelvis phantom, including organs, was realised for the testing of the probe. Additionally, using the phantom helped a surgeon identify the potential problems in the 'real-life' use of the probe in differentiating between radioactive (cancerous) and background (healthy) lymph nodes.

The probe could lead to a reduction in the removal of 'healthy' lymph nodes and provide better quality of life to the patient as a result.

Of the win, CEO of Lightpoint Medical, David Tuch said: “We’re delighted to be honoured with a Collaborate to Innovate Award for our partnership with the National Physical Laboratory. The award is great recognition for our fruitful collaboration with NPL to develop advanced sensing technologies for the surgical market. We’re looking forward to building on our partnership.”

The Engineer: Collaborate to Innovate Awards ceremony was on Wednesday 6 November 2019 and celebrates the very best in UK collaborations and innovations in Engineering. The Healthcare & Medical category covered entries ranging from advanced surgical robots and prosthetics to wearable devices for monitoring a patient's vital signs. This award highlights the collaborative innovations in a truly life-changing field, focusing on engineers who are at the forefront of change in healthcare: developing the technologies that help people stay healthier for longer, addressing the challenges of the world's ageing population, and leading the fight against a range of debilitating conditions.

Find out more about our Medical physics and Nuclear Metrology groups.

Medical physics

Nuclear metrology

07 Nov 2019