TH-C-17A-06: A Hardware Implementation and Evaluation of Robotic SPECT: Toward Molecular Imaging Onboard Radiation Therapy Machines




To construct a robotic SPECT system and demonstrate its capability to image a thorax phantom on a radiation therapy flat-top couch. The system has potential for on-board functional and molecular imaging in radiation therapy.


A robotic SPECT imaging system was developed utilizing a Digirad 2020tc detector and a KUKA KR150-L110 robot. An imaging study was performed with the PET CT Phantom, which includes 5 spheres: 10, 13, 17, 22 and 28 mm in diameter. Sphere-tobackground concentration ratio was 6:1 of Tc99m. The phantom was placed on a flat-top couch. SPECT projections were acquired with a parallel-hole collimator and a single pinhole collimator. The robotic system navigated the detector tracing the flat-top table to maintain the closest possible proximity to the phantom. For image reconstruction, detector trajectories were described by six parameters: radius-of-rotation, x and z detector shifts, and detector rotation θ, tilt ϕ and twist γ. These six parameters were obtained from the robotic system by calibrating the robot base and tool coordinates.


The robotic SPECT system was able to maneuver parallel-hole and pinhole collimated SPECT detectors in close proximity to the phantom, minimizing impact of the flat-top couch on detector-to-COR (center-ofrotation) distance. In acquisitions with background at 1/6th sphere activity concentration, photopeak contamination was heavy, yet the 17, 22, and 28 mm diameter spheres were readily observed with the parallel hole imaging, and the single, targeted sphere (28 mm diameter) was readily observed in the pinhole region-of-interest (ROI) imaging.


Onboard SPECT could be achieved by a robot maneuvering a SPECT detector about patients in position for radiation therapy on a flat-top couch. The robot inherent coordinate frame could be an effective means to estimate detector pose for use in SPECT image reconstruction.

PHS/NIH/NCI grant R21-CA156390-01A1