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Moving towards the future: PET/CT June 24, 2007

Posted by tomography in CT, Nuclear Medicine, PET, Radiology, Tomography.


There is radiology, where usually one gets an ultrasound scan, or a normal X-ray, or even a CT scan done, and nuclear medicine where doctors are looking for pre-cancerous lesions or metastasis with the help of radioactive molecules.


And then there is the combination of the two, PET/CT, which not only helps doctors locate the lesion more accurately (CT), but it also helps determine how active that lesion is on the molecular lever (PET) using one machine, and one sitting (actually lying) for the patient.

“Positron Emission Tomography requires the patient to ingest or inject a radioactive isotope, for example, fluorodesoxyglucose (FDG) which releases positrons at the cellular level. These collide with electrons creating a light pattern (from photons) that can be scanned. The key aspect of this technology is that pre-cancerous cells typically show heightened metabolic activity that can be detected early on.”

This technology has been used to locate tumors, identify metastasis, but its real power lies in the fact that in the near future it may in the diagnostic process replace PTCA or – percutanorous transluminal coronary angioplasty- which is an invasive method with several severe risks. Therefore atherosclerosis and blood clogs will be detected early on with as little pain and side-effect to the patient as one injection can cause.

Take a look at a promotional video (Hungarian) to find out more about this fascinating new technology, or watch this video (English):

You will find some technical information about the data acquisition process in PET scanner in this post:



1. What tomorrow brings? « Indulge in the fascinating world of - October 22, 2007

[…] Since then, his invention went through a great evolution. Just take a look at the latets X-ray machines. They look nice, they work fine… They simply do not cover. As time went by, came new ideas, so we have CT and MRI in our hands (for many years fortunatelly). CT and MRI are sensitive in defining that disease is present, but they aren’t specific in determining what particular type of disease may be present. PET was the answer as it really brought it’s dramatic change. The increased metabolic activity not only confirms that cancer is present but provides evidence of staging or metastasis beyond the primary. Utilization of PET began in the 1990s. (SPECT has been around for daceades, preferred over PET in cardiac cases.) PET and SPECT are both basic gadgets in nuclear medicine, which combines chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer technology, and medicine in using radioactivity to diagnose and treat disease. Nuclear medicine procedures are safe, they involve little or no patient discomfort and do not require the use of anesthesia. Finally, CT-MRI and PET-SPECT found each other in a good working marriage, so one of today’s high-end stuff is PET-CT. […]

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