PET/CT scans for cancer patients completed in 15-20 minutes


A new PET/CT scanner does combined exams in just 15-20 minutes, and is much more patient-friendly as the patient is never completely enclosed.

This new system by Philips (called Gemini TruFlight®) merges computed tomography (CT), which shows anatomy, with positron emission tomography (PET), which shows metabolic activity. The non-invasive exam takes just 15 or 20 minutes. The patient, lying on an open gantry, is never completely enclosed, and can interact with staff.

"It is the most patient-friendly system of its kind," said Robert Wagner, MD, medical director, Nuclear Medicine at Loyola University.

A CT scan combines an array of X-rays to produce a 3D image. For example, a CT scan can show, in exquisite detail, the structural anatomy of a tumor.

The PET scan, in turn, can reveal metabolic "hot spots." Before the exam, a patient is given a radiopharmaceutical, which is absorbed by organs and tissues that use the most energy. For example, cancer cells, which use more energy than healthy cells, absorb more of the radiopharmaceutical and thus light up the image.

PET/CT scanning for various conditions

In addition to detecting a tumor, a PET/CT scan can show precisely where it is located, whether it is benign or malignant and whether it has spread. A PET/CT scan also can be used to assess the effectiveness of chemotherapy and determine whether a tumor has recurred. In cardiovascular patients, a PET/CT scan can determine whether heart muscle damaged in a heart attack is still viable. The scan also can detect cardiac sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease.

In neurological patients, a PET/CT scan can determine the location in the brain where epileptic seizures are originating. The system also can detect amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Many other applications for PET/CT scans are being developed, Wagner said. "We're just at the tip of the iceberg."


Source: Science Daily:

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