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In nuclear medicine, scanners get more sensitive, software more specific

por Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | June 17, 2019
Molecular Imaging
From the June 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“MR and CT visualize structures and soft tissue and require someone to interpret those images and try to assess where the cancer is,” said Todd Powell, president and chief executive officer of RefleXion. “This sees the cancer itself.

“Our breakthrough was to be able to open up the fundamental technology of PET and not use the images that come out of PET, but use the emissions that come out of PET,” Powell continued.

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The company has submitted a 510(k) application to the FDA for the technology and hopes to deliver systems by the end of 2019.

There are 11 consortium sites — academic centers and community cancer centers, with a mix of radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and nuclear medicine experts — that are providing feedback on the clinical and departmental workflow, and on clinical trial design. Some of those sites also have preclinical access to research tools that RefleXion has developed to work with the machine and the radiotherapy workflow, Powell said.

The technology will give clinicians information that could allow them to decide to change a patient’s treatment plan or treat multiple tumors in the same session.

“No one has been able to use PET images in real time or a PET-based workflow in real time during treatment,” Powell said.

Siemens Biograph Vision PET/CT
Siemens Healthineers
In June of 2018, Siemens Healthineers received FDA clearance for its Biograph Vision PET/CT system.

The scanner features what the company calls Optiso Ultra Dynamic Range (UDR) detector technology – a completely new detector design that uses silicon photomultipliers (SiPMs) in combination with 3.2mm crystals, allowing for higher spatial resolution to detect smaller lesions, said Karin Karl, senior director of global product marketing PET/CT for the molecular imaging division of Siemens Healthineers

The ability to see smaller lesions can enable clinicians to change patient management, supporting the practice of precision medicine, Karl said.

“With that new detector design, you now may be able to see structures that you could never see before with PET/CT,” Karl said. “There is the high potential to be much more precise and to make a much sounder decision. That is the ultimate goal of a PET/CT exam. You want to make sure at the beginning you're giving them the right therapy.”

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