Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

PET/MR Same-Time Scanner: Less Radiation, Clearer Images

Published on the Aug. 30, 2012 DiagnosticImaging.com website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

For the past several years, the industry has been moving toward more hybrid imaging. For some facilities and practices, that means using a PET/MR combination machine, most of which take sequential images. But what if you could take those images at the same time and with less radiation? There’s now new technology on the horizon.

A development from Norway could allow you to not only obtain PET and MRI images simultaneously, but it could drastically reduce the radiation risk to your patients. Particle physicists from the University of Oslo have designed a PET scanner small enough to fit inside an MRI machine. Currently, this dual machine is only available for preclinical cancer scanning with animals, but researchers plan to build a version acceptable for hospital use.

“Our PET design is highly sensitive, meaning it reduces radiation dose to the animals being examined,” said Erlend Bolle, a particle physics researcher in the University of Oslo (UiO) physics department in a written statement. “The amount of reduction depends on the design, but in the best case scenario, we could achieve up to a 100 percent increase in sensitivity compared to some of the best scanners on the market. That would allow us to acquire data needed for image reconstruction in half the time.”

With a traditional PET scan, cancerous cells are identified by the radioactive isotopes collected when cells absorb sugar molecules. To achieve better images with reduced radiation, the researchers developed a 3-D , five-layer detector made of crystals and light guides. The detectors, Bolle said, capture more photons, doubling the PET scan sensitivity and halving the radiation dose.

Transitioning this technology to the patient-care environment only requires scale-up, he said. The detectors, read-out electronics, triggering system, and software were all constructed with a hospital-focused scale-up in mind. The detector module can also be redesigned to better fit a large ring geometry.

And, as cost-cutting and resource-conservation initiatives from health care reform begin to take effect, combination machines will become integral to the future of diagnostic imaging, said Robert Brait, Siemens Healthcare product manager.

“It’s important to have hybrid imaging because hospitals will need their space for patient beds more than they’ll need six rooms for six separate CT scanners and three more for PET or MRI machines,” he said. “With one device to do multiple things, hospitals have more efficient use of space and better utilization of resources.”

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August 31, 2012 - Posted by | Healthcare | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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