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Millions to KTH for research on molecular medical imaging

Mats Danielsson with camera for molecular medical imaging
KTH professor and research leader Mats Danielsson is delighted to receive 3 351 875 € in ERC funding for basic research that could increase the efficiency of molecular medical imaging. "The system we are creating can provide molecular images with higher sensitivity and resolution than ever before."
Published Apr 09, 2024

KTH Royal Institute Professor Mats Danielsson's research team has been awarded a European Research Council Advanced Grant of €3,351,875 for a five-year project that could revolutionize hospital technology for PET and SPECT, known as molecular imaging. Among other uses, the methods can detect cancer and cardiovascular diseases at an early stage.

Danielsson , Professor of Medical Imaging Physics at KTH, is one of the selected research leaders to receive one of Europe's most prestigious research grants, ERC Advanced Grants , a grant from the European Research Council.

Danielsson likens the new technology to a camera that records molecular medical images." The new technology means that the efficiency for detection of individual gamma rays can be increased by up to a million," Danielsson says.
“The time it takes to record an image of the patient can be reduced from 10 minutes to less than a second.”

Individual molecules can be tracked

Molecular imaging in the form of SPECT (Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is a commonly used examination in healthcare today, including for the early detection and follow-up treatment of cancer. The researchers now hope that the new technology through higher resolution will make cancer treatment more effective.

"Through this research project, the radiation dose that patients are exposed to can also be radically reduced, because the new camera is much more efficient," Danielsson says.

Mats Danielsson and a camera for medical imaging

“Our new technology can also be used to diagnose cardiovascular diseases, for example. Unlike conventional X-ray technology, individual molecules can be tracked, and body functions, such as metabolism, can be studied almost in real time.”

The research team expects the new technology to contribute to faster development of new and more effective drugs, where SPECT and PET already play an important role.
The group has been collaborating for several years with doctors and engineers at MedTechLabs .

“The ERC grant supports our basic research, and we believe that the new technology can be used in healthcare within five to ten years," Danielsson says.

Out of over 1 800 applications for the ERC Advanced Grant, 255 projects were selected.
"We are delighted to have succeeded in obtaining one of Europe's largest grants for basic research. We in the team are very proud to have won the ERC Advanced Grant in such a big competition between Europe's top researchers.

Katarina Ahlfort ( )
Photo: Håkan Lindgren

Mats Danielsson's research career

  • Mats Danielsson earned a master's degree in Engineering physics at KTH in 1990. Until 1996, he conducted research at CERN in Switzerland and received his PhD in 1996.
  • From 1996 to 1998 he worked as a postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, USA, in the research area of detectors and integrated electronics for X-ray imaging.
  • He is a co-founder of MedTechLabs (, where engineers and doctors collaborate in medical research. He is responsible for the research program on imaging with minimally invasive techniques.
  • Danielsson is a co-founder of Sectra Mamea AB, which was sold to Philips in 2011, as well as the Nasdaq-listed company C-RAD, and the company Prismatic Sensors, which develops new technologies for computed tomography.
  • He has over 100 patents and is co-author of over 140 scientific articles in journals such as Medical Physics, Physics in Medicine and Biology, Journal of Medical Imaging and Nature. The articles have been referenced 5,800 times.

About the project "3D silicon detector for imaging of diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine radiotracers with outstanding efficiency and high spatial resolution"

  • The main objective of the project is to explore the physical limits of efficiency and spatial resolution for detection of gamma rays.
  • The project will design, construct and evaluate imaging technology with a new instrument for molecular imaging of radioactive nuclides in the human body.
  • The new technology could have a major impact on the diagnosis and treatment of major public health diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and facilitate the development of new drugs.
Belongs to: About KTH
Last changed: Apr 09, 2024