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This paper is framed into the Positron Emission Mammography (PEM) project, whose aim is to develop an innovative gamma ray sensor for early breast cancer diagnosis. Currently, breast cancer is detected using low-energy X-ray screening. However, functional imaging techniques such as PET/FDG could be employed to detect breast cancer and track disease changes with greater sensitivity. Furthermore, a small and less expensive PET camera can be utilized minimizing main problems of whole body PET. To accomplish these objectives, we are developing a new gamma ray sensor based on a newly released photodetector. However, a dedicated PEM detector requires an adequate data acquisition (DAQ) and processing system. The characterization of gamma events needs a free-running analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with sampling rates of more than 50 Ms/s and must achieve event count rates up to 10 MHz. Moreover, comprehensive data processing must be carried out to obtain event parameters necessary for performing the image reconstruction. A new generation digital signal processor (DSP) has been used to comply with these requirements. This device enables us to manage the DAQ system at up to 80 Ms/s and to execute intensive calculi over the detector signals. This paper describes our designed DAQ and processing architecture whose main features are: very high-speed data conversion, multichannel synchronized acquisition with zero dead time, a digital triggering scheme, and high throughput of data with an extensive optimization of the signal processing algorithms.