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Molecular Imaging Research

The Department of Molecular Imaging (the 'Department'), includes PET-CT and general Nuclear Medicine and provides functional imaging using radiopharmaceuticals (or tracers).

A hallmark of the Department has been its translation of a research tool (PET) to an indispensable imaging modality for medical and surgical specialties. The introduction of PET heralded strong collaborations with surgical oncologists - cardiothoracic, neurosurgical, upper gastrointestinal, colorectal, melanoma and orthopaedic surgeons - which pioneered the way that cancer was managed within Australia and internationally. The PET radiochemistry facilities have now enabled the production of new PET radiopharamceuticals for cancer and diseases of the nervous system, in particular, the neurodegenerative disorders including the dementias. These tracers are being translated into clinical care on a daily basis.

The Department has a strong track record for performing high quality basic science, animal, clinical and translational research, which is reflected in its continued success in achieving funding from peak granting bodies including the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC), and Cancer Institute of NSW. Staff have published in leading medical, medical imaging and biomedical informatics journals as well as presenting research data at national and international meetings. The Department is also actively involved in teaching and academic supervision of medical professionals, university students, postdoctoral fellows and it also conducts visits for high school students from all over NSW.

The major workload of the Department is in PET-CT and there is high-end infrastructure including a 128-slice PET-CT scanner with time-of-flight (TOF) / high definition reconstruction and continuous bed motion (Biograph Vision Edge) and a Total Body PET-CT scanner (Biograph Vision Quadra). The Biograph Vision Edge was installed in 2019 and was the 1st in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. The Biograph Quadra was installed in 2021 and was the 1st in Australia and the second of its kind installed in the world.

The Department's scanners have been validated for numerous national and international clinical trials, where the Department has also acted as a 'Core PET Lab'. Since January 2018, the Department has maintained internationally recognised validation of its PET-CT scanners by the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) as part of their Clinical Trials Network PET-CT Scanner Validation Program. In 2019, the PET 'hot lab' was redesigned and upgraded to accommodate multiple PET radiophamaceuticals and an automated dispensing system. In 2021, renovation work commenced in PET - improving the workflow and patient experience. This work will continue in 2022 and beyond in addition to the planned expansion as part of the RPA Redevelopment. Work is also ongoing to expand and improve the existing PET radiochemistry, production, and QC laboratories. This work is expected to be completed in 2023, which will be the cyclotron's 20th year of routine operation. General Nuclear Medicine has a SPECT-CT scanner and 2 ECAMS and also provides radionuclide therapy, so called 'theranostics' which is beginning to have an increasing role in cancer.

The Department has successful research collaborations with individuals and groups at leading academic and research institutes including: University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, University of Wollongong, Macquarie University, Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), Sendai University in Japan, and a number of Universities in China.

Selected Grants

Amount awarded Grant and project details
$17,069,580 NHMRC, 2018-2022
Frontotemporal dementia and motor neurodegenerative syndromes.
Investigators: Halliday G, Mattick J, Hodges J, Kiernan M, Piguet O, Kril J, Ittner L, Kassiou M , Cooper A, Blair I, Burrell J, Kwok J, Magnussen J, Fulham M, Ahmed R, Kim S, Villemagne V, Ke Y.
$4,420,408 ARC, 2018-2023
ARC training centre for innovative bioengineering.
Investigators: Zreiqat H, Suaning G, Feng D, Li Q, Dunstan C, Kim J, McEwan A, Chandrawati R, Li JJ, Kumar A, Berndt C, Witchurch C, Kappelt G, Smith W, Sadeghpour A, Lu W, Fulham M.
$3,020,383 NHMRC, 2018-2023
Our MOB (Mind Our Brain): Dementia prevention across the life course with Aboriginal Australians.
Investigators: Radford K, Broe G, Delbaere K, Draper B , Garvey G, Cumming R, Wright D, Fulham M, Piguet O, Sachdev P, Cass A, Daylight G, Bennett H, Anstey K, Cooley K, Zwi K, Arabena K, Garrett K, Schofield P, Agius T.
$787,069 NHMRC, 2019-2024
PETReA: Phase 3 evaluation of PET-guided, response adapted therapy in patients with previously untreated, high tumour burden follicular lymphoma.
Investigators: Trotman J, Fulham M, Pettit A, Opat S, Johnston A, Badoux X, Ritchie D, Lenton D, Presgrave P.
$480,000 ARC, 2020-2023
A technology platform for multiple body site image-omics.
Investigators: Feng DD, Kim J, Fulham MJ, Wang Y, Shen H-B.

Our Publications

2022

Bi L, Fulham MJ, Kim J. Hyper-fusion network for semi-automatic segmentation of skin lesions. Medical Image Analysis. Medical Image Analysis. 2022;76:102334.
Bi L, Kim J, Su T, Fulham M, Feng DD, Ning G. Deep multi-scale resemblance network for the sub-class differentiation of adrenal masses on computed tomography images. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine. 2022;132:102374.
Coombes AD, Palma CA, Calopedos R, Wen L, Woo H, Fulham M, Leslie S. Review Article. PSMA PET-CT in the diagnosis and staging of prostate cancer. 2022;12:2594.
El-Wahsh S, Greenup D, White G, Thompson EO, Aggarwal A, Fulham MJ, Halmagyi MG. Letter to the Editor. Diaschisis: a mechanism for subcortical aphasia? Journal of Neurology. 2022;269(4):2219-2221.
Fu X, Bi L, Kumar A, Fulham M, Kim J. An attention-enhanced cross-task network to analyse lung nodule attributes on CT. Pattern Recognition. 2022;126:108576.
Fu X, Bi L, Kumar A, Fulham M, Kim J. Graph-based intercategory and intermodality network for multilabel classification and melanoma diagnosis of skin lesions in dermoscopy and clinical images. IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging. 2022;41(11):3266-3277.
Meng M, Bi L, Fulham M, Feng DD, Kim J. Enhancing medical image registration via appearance adjustment networks. NeuroImage. 2022;259(2022):119444.
Rodnick ME, Sollert C, Stark D, Clark M, Katsifis A, Hockley BG, Parr CD, Frigell J, Henderson BD, Bruton L, Preshlock S, Abghari-Gerst M, Piert MR, Fulham MJ, Eberl S, Gangon K, Scott PJH. Synthesis of [68Ga]Ga-PSMA-11 for prostate cancer imaging using both generator-derived and cyclotron-produced 68Ga. Nature Protocols. 2022;17(4)980-1003.
Swart G, Balgobind S, Chan C, Fulham MJ, Riminton S, Mitchell E, Reddel S. Spinal cord presentation of biopsy-proven PET-positive giant cell arteritis. Neurology. 2022;98(23):982-983.
Xia T, Kumar A, Fulham M, Feng D, Wang Y, Kim EY, Jung Y, Kim J. Fused feature signatures to probe tumour radiogenomics relationships. Scientific Reports. 2022;12:2173.

Our Presentations

2022

Brescia A, Brewer A, Waugh A, Fulham M. Stage IV Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) - innumerable small metastases detected on the Biograph Vision Quadra total body PET-CT scanner. In: 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine (ANZSNM 2022). 2022 May 13-15; Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD, Australia .
Brewer A, Caddey E, Waugh A, Fulham M. Quadra total body PET-CT in staging prostate cancer with Ga-68-PSMA. In: 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine (ANZSNM 2022). 2022 May 13-15; Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD, Australia .
Clarke AJ, Manser D, Fleischer R, Fulham MJ, Ahmed RM. A case of semantics: Huntington disease presenting as primary progressive aphasia. Movement Disorders Society of Australia and New Zealand Conference 2022 (MDSANZ 2022). 2022 Nov 9; Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Eberl S, Fulham MJ. PETtrace upgrades and TYLER refurbishment: the RPA approach & experience. In: GE Healthcare PET Radiopharmacy User Forum. 2022 Oct 13-14 Barcelona, Spain.
Fulham MJ. Australia's 1st total body PET-CT scanner Department of Molecular Imaging Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital. In: Siemens User Group Meeting. 2022 Jan 20; Department of Molecular Imaging, RPA, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Fulham MJ. Biograph Vision 600 Edge. In: Visit from the Princess Alexandra Hospital. 2022 Aug 23; Department of Molecular Imaging, RPA, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Fulham, MJ. Australia's 1st Total Body PET-CT scanner at RPA in Sydney Local Health District. In: Pre-Conference Session 'Theme: Total Body PET current status & new concepts for data analysis' as part of Total-Body PET 2022. 2022 Sep 24; Edinburgh, Scotland and Virtual (COVID-19).
Fulham, MJ. The latest information of Biograph Quadra. In: Siemens sponsored symposium 'Theme: PET dynamic imaging and analysis' as part of the 13th Congress of the World Federation of Nuclear Medicine and Biology (WFNMB 2022). 2022 Sep 08; Room 4 (Room A), Kyoto International Conference Centre (ICC Kyoto), Kyoto, Japan and Virtual (COVID-19).
Hughes A, Fulham M, Brewer A. Short data acquisition for an obese patient (190kg) on the Biograph Vision Quadra total body PET-CT scanner. In: 52nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine (ANZSNM 2022). 2022 May 13-15; Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.