CTI Molecular Imaging unveils high-resolution PET-CT system

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CTI Molecular Imaging Inc. introduced its new LSO Hi-Rez Reveal PET-CT system at last week's annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

 CTI says the Hi-Rez Reveal PET-CT - designed for small lesion detection -- has three times higher spatial resolution than current technology. The company credits its LSO (lutetium oxyorthosilicate) detector technology as one essential component of the next-generation technology, along with a redesign of the block detector itself.

 "Our existing technology provides for an 8-by-8 [rows] block of 6.4 mm crystals," noted Greg Brophy, president of CPS Innovations, CTI's PET (positron emission tomography) development and manufacturing division. "We have moved to a 13-by-13 block and a total of 169 crystals that are 4 mm in size. That [4 mm size] roughly translates into the size of a lesion."

 The University of Tennessee (UT) Medical Center in Knoxville took delivery of the first Hi-Rez Reval in mid-November. By RSNA 2003, the facility had imaged approximately 20 patients under the direction of David Townsend, Ph.D., professor and director of cancer imaging and tracer development research and co-inventor of the PET-CT.

 With the Hi-Rez Reveal, Townsend says technologists can choose between fast scan time with the LSO technology or higher resolution imaging. "We have done imaging in as little as 5.7 minutes," he added. "If you want a very fast image, you can get it down to six minutes … a 30-minute scan will get the very best resolution. The challenge is to get the best image quality in people who are 350 pounds."

 Townsend said the system offers the potential to visualize disease that is smaller in size or earlier in development and which might be overlooked in some patients using existing PET technology. The facility will begin larger scale trials to demonstrate the potential benefits in lesion detection and improvements in quantitative accuracy.

 CTI anticipates commercial shipments of the Hi-Rez Reveal to begin in March 2004.

 As for price, the Hi-Rez Reveal is expected to "have at least a $150,000 to $200,000 premium -- because of the resolution and high count rate - over the systems we have been selling and over what the competition sells," said CTI President and CEO Ron Nutt, Ph.D. Nutt co-developed PET-CT technology with Townsend when both men were at the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1990s.