United Imaging's total-body PET scanner shows promise in four new studies

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | April 03, 2019
Molecular Imaging

The subject’s brain in the third study was assessed for 25 minutes to evaluate the system’s ability to scan a single organ. The injection was 80 MBq of 18F-FDG and administered 25 minutes before. The exam produced high-quality images that showed delineation of smaller structures of the brain, as well as very-high-resolution reconstruction without high image noise despite dose being low.

The final study used a dose of 25 MBq of 18F-FDG, with the subject was scanned 50 minutes later for 10 minutes. Good quality images were produced despite the low dose.

Use of the scanner could spare young patients from unnecessary radiation and long scan times, while still producing high-quality images, according to Cherry. The findings support the main objective behind the scanner, which is to indicate the presence of cancer at earlier stages. He also foresees it aiding other emerging practices and specialties in the future.

“Our hope would be that EXPLORER ultimately can be shown to do a better job at detecting early metastasis, as this clearly influences how patients are treated. We also envision that by using some of the new theranostic agents, the EXPLORER scanner will aid in characterizing lesions and predicting which patients will respond and which will not,” said Cherry. “EXPLORER offers opportunities to make the diagnostic experience better for patients, through a combination of reducing radiation dose in younger subjects who need PET/CT scans, and by shortening the imaging time. This makes it easier to capture sharper images (less patient motion) and is easier for patients to tolerate.”

Cherry estimates that the scanner will cost $10 million, a factor that is expected to make it financially viable mainly to high-volume sites with higher patient throughput, though it is available to any provider. “EXPLORER can probably do the work of roughly 3 regular PET scanners, thus, it will be most attractive to larger sites operating multiple scanners.”

The Explorer Consortium is made up of teams from the University of California, Davis, and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as industry partners. UIH America is the vendor of the solution and the North American subsidiary of Shanghai-based United Imaging Healthcare.

The findings were published in the March issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

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