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Physics advances help shape clinical PET

PET is widely employed in the clinic to track molecules within the body with high sensitivity. Currently, the vast majority of PET scans are performed using the radiotracer 18F-FDG to image tumours. But according to Charalampos (Harry) Tsoumpas, a lecturer in medical imaging at the University of Leeds, PET has a lot more to offer when it comes to clinical applications. “When PET was combined with CT, that was a big breakthrough that changed clinical practise,” said Tsoumpas. “But I believe that molecular imaging is just starting.” Read more.

Combined PET-MR principles, strengths and weaknesses

The combination of positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides a unique clinical imaging tool with significant applications in biomedical research in small animals. PET/MRI systems for use in humans were first introduced in the year 2010.

Other hybrid imaging systems such as CT/PET and SPECT/CT have been widely accepted in clinical practice in the past decade. PET/MR technology has revolutionized clinical imaging in small animals and offers high performance functional imaging solutions. Some medical imaging experts foresee PET/MRI completely replacing PET/CT in the future. Read more.

New SiPMs boost PET detector performance

A PET detector combining time-of-flight (TOF) and depth-of-interaction (DOI) capabilities has been developed by a US-Italian collaboration. A high timing resolution of around 200 ps, along with accurate DOI estimates and good energy resolution, was demonstrated by the detector. The technology promises to significantly boost PET image quality, with whole-body imaging applications, such as scans for cancer metastases, set to benefit most.

The detector is part of a larger project by University of California Davis researchers to develop a scanner with an axial field-of-view (FOV) of 2 m – eight to ten times that of existing commercial scanners. Read more.

Targeting estrogen and HER2 receptors through PET imaging

FDG-PET is currently one of the only molecular imaging techniques used in oncology — but that may soon change.

New PET probes being tested have shown promise, especially in breast cancer clinical trials. Experts at the Abramson Cancer Center and University of Pennsylvania believe that they can make it easier to diagnose, monitor and treat patients. Read more.

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