Total-body PET maximizes imaging sensitivity

PET is already considered the most sensitive non-surgical techniques for studying physiology, metabolism and molecular pathways, but experts believe recent developments may drastically increase its capabilities.

Scientists at the University of California, Davis released their findings in a study published online Jan. 3 in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

Authors note that for all the positives of PET, drawbacks include low signal-to-noise ratio affecting image quality, long imaging times and concerns over radiation dose. Total-body PET, however, may be able to directly address those issues.

The group, led by Terry Jones with the department of radiology at University of California, Davis, found by allowing the entire body to be scanned simultaneously, sensitivity is increased by a factor of nearly 40 for total-body imaging and about four to five for single organ imaging. Improvements in timing resolution may lead to additional gains.

The “world’s first” total-body PET/CT scanner is currently under construction to study the affect this new technology can have on clinical research and patient care, and the group believes it will have major implications for healthcare.

“It is anticipated that some of the clinical research areas in which total-body PET methodology is developed and applied may also lead to new health-care applications for PET as part of the developing vision of personalized, precision, systems-based medicine,” wrote Jones and colleagues.