Molecular Imaging: A Brave New World

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Nuclear medicine, once dismissed as “unclear medicine,” has moved to the cutting-edge of diagnostic healthcare in the past few years with the introduction of fusion molecular imaging modalities such as PET/CT and SPECT/CT, which provide anatomic clarity to the discipline’s functional focus. In addition, groundbreaking research in radiopharmaceuticals holds the promise of new imaging agents for a wider variety of disease as well as therapeutics designed to provide targeted treatments at the molecular level.

Developers are set to introduce new software tools that utilize advanced visualization technologies to further expand the diagnostic capabilities of PET, PET/CT, SPECT and SPECT/CT.

Upgrades and improvements to existing gamma cameras are being displayed and demonstrated at RSNA 2007, as will new devices for breast, thyroid, oncology, and cardiac and multispectral imaging applications.

A host of firms are unveiling offerings for molecular imaging applications and processing this year. Here is a sample of some of the latest products and devices that are being revealed at McCormick Place next month.


Capintec (Booth 3117) is showcasing its radiation measurement and protection products for all imaging modalities and featuring molecular imaging products.

The firm designs, manufactures, and sells equipment for medical imaging and radiation oncology. Capintec is displaying a complete line of products for nuclear medicine, PET, brachytherapy and radiation therapy facilities.

Carestream Molecular Imaging (Booth 2513) is unveiling its new Kodak In-Vivo Multispectral system for advanced research applications along with new large Stokes shift dyes.

The new multispectral system incorporates workflow automation and advanced multispectral fluorescence, luminescence, digital x-ray and radioisotopic imaging capabilities for in vivo imaging of small animals for drug development and life science research.

The system delivers improved sensitivity that allows researchers to precisely locate, identify and monitor changes in molecular activity of specific cells or organs within small animals, long before morphological changes can be detected. As a result, users can gain a better understanding of very early disease states which can lead to expedited development of effective therapeutics, according to Carestream.

The organization also is featuring its new large Stokes shift dyes for fluorescent in-vivo imaging applications. These dyes maximize the fluorescent signal while minimizing auto-fluorescence issues during in vivo imaging.

The new dyes, which are characterized by near infrared emission and a large Stokes shift, equip researchers to achieve a higher sensitivity of fluorescent detection deeper into tissue. Having a significantly larger Stokes shift—greater than 80 nanometers in the case of Kodak X-SIGHT Dyes—helps researchers eliminate much of the background that typically obstructs the fluorescent signal while allowing researchers to excite and emit the dyes at their maxima, thus resulting in far greater signal to noise, according to the company. Most commercially available dyes typically have a Stokes shift between 20 to 30 nanometers.

Although the Kodak X-SIGHT Imaging Agents have been optimized for Kodak Image Station and In-Vivo Systems, they also are compatible with other commercially available digital imaging systems, according to Carestream.

Cedara Software (Booth 1316) is debuting its Cedara Clinical Control Center (C4)-enabled works-in-progress Cedara PET/CT module and Cedara I-Response.

The C4 PET/CT application was developed to follow radiology workflow and solve image fusion challenges in a PACS environment, according to the vendor.

The Cedara I-Response is designed to help evaluate, assess and monitor the effect of cancer therapy over time using data from multiple modalities. In addition to providing tools for standard anatomical measurements used for tumor assessment in cancer management and research, Cedara I-Response can analyze both PET/CT and MR-based diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI).

The firm says that by providing the capability to visualize changes in tumors resulting from cellular and metabolic mechanisms during the course of treatment, the product provides clinically relevant information that potentially could be used to make mid-treatment therapy adjustments in an attempt to improve clinical outcome.

Cedara I-Response also features patented functional Diffusion Map (fDM) technology based on work done at the