A world-first medical breakthrough that could help save millions of lives has been made by a Christchurch father and son and it could revolutionise the way scans are taken.
The Butlers have been working on the 3D molecular scanner since 2005.
It could help detect diseases like cancer by producing extraordinary colour images
The MARS Programme scanner produces 3D images that are so intricate and unnervingly revealing that they will allow diseases to be diagnosed earlier, potentially saving lives.
“It’s amazing to think where we started off, I remember our first scans which were literally of bees,” son Professor Anthony Butler said, of the project with dad Professor Phil.
The scanner produces smaller pixels and 8000 times more data, which means much higher resolution than an MRI or CT scan.
Twenty universities including Otago and Canterbury have supported their genius idea as it developed in an unassuming back room over 13 years, with MBIE providing millions in research funding as well.
“I'm pretty pigheaded, and a lot of stickability I guess," Anthony Butler said.
“There’s the possibility of effecting hundreds of millions of people in a significant way and that’s where the satisfaction comes from."
The next step is to scan patients in a clinical trial and the technology could potentially be in our hospitals in the coming years.