Siemens Medical Solutions this week showed a prototype fully functioning imaging system capable of performing simultaneously magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). The company said the first in vivo human brain simultaneous MR-PET images were acquired at its facilities in the United States, and testing of this new prototype MR-PET will start before the end of 2007.
The prototype demonstration is taking place at the 2007 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) scientific meeting this week in Berlin.
The first MR-PET images were acquired with support of physicians from the University of Tennessee, and doctors from the University Tubingen in Germany. MR-PET has the potential for effective use in neurological studies, certain forms of cancer, stroke and the emerging study of stem cell therapy.
Researchers hope that that MR-PET will help their understanding of the pathologies and progression of various neurological disorders like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, depression and schizophrenia. In stroke patients, the technology has promise in helping doctors study which brain tissues might be salvageable after a stroke. And, such a hybrid system could be useful for emerging therapeutic research as well, as in the case of stem cell therapy.