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Degree project in the fight against cancer


Doctors can use 3-D images to create a picture of how cancer spreads within the body. However, what information in the image is actually of interest to doctors, and how can that information be presented in the best possible way? These are some of the issues that student Rebecka Henrysson investigated in her degree project. She is the first student ever to be awarded a degree from the Master of Science programme in Biomedical Engineering at LTH.

Rebecka Henrysson conducted her degree project at Sectra Imaging IT, a company in Linköping. There, she took a closer look at how PET/CT technology is being used in the treatment of cancer. PET/CT stands for positron emission tomography/computer tomography, which are image-generating methods that use radioactive markers and CT scans respectively. PET can produce 3-D images of tumours’ metabolism, for example, whereas CT produces anatomical images in 3-D and makes certain organs and tissues visible.

“I carried out a study of the literature and compared it with the results from interviews with healthcare staff and the replies I received from the questionnaire I sent to people who worked in PET/CT and/or cancer treatment. I also investigated the existing quantitative and semi-quantitative uptake measurements and how they are used in healthcare”, says Rebecka Henrysson.

She has studied at LTH since the autumn of 2011, when the MSc programme in Biomedical Engineering (BME) started. Actually, she was not due to finish until the summer, but she accelerated things and studied a little in advance. After presenting her degree project it is time for a job and new challenges.

“The prospects for those studying Biomedical Engineering are very good. We see that students on other, closely related study programmes are getting jobs soon after graduating”, says Ingrid Holmberg, study and careers advisor, and certified coach at LTH.

The MSc programme in Biomedical Engineering has 40 places and is one of three study programmes with the highest number of applicants at LTH.

“In the start-up phase it was fantastic to be able to utilise the medical technology network in the region to create the programme. As the programme is small, the students are very keen on influencing their education, so that it will be as good as possible. We have seen that the BME programme appeals to new student groups that would otherwise probably not have applied to LTH and we are especially pleased that there is an equal gender distribution”, says Leif Sörnmo, Professor at the Division of Biomedical Engineering and director of the BME programme.