GE focuses on cancer, heart and neurology imaging

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GE Healthcare is showcasing this week at the Society of Nuclear Medicine Annual Meeting in San Diego the just-out DISCOVERY STE PET/CT scanner and its applications in imaging for cancer, heart disease, and neurological conditions to diagnose disease earlier and monitor a patient’s course of treatment. At the heart of the Discovery STE is the Discovery Dimension Console, fully integrated to optimize PET/CT workflow. GE also debuted a host of products including a new nuclear medicine review workstation with a floating software license and software for examining heart perfusion, as well as highlighting advances in a variety of technology areas.

New at SNM is the Xeleris 2 nuclear medicine review workstation that features a new XFL (Xeleris Floating License) which allows nuclear medicine departments the ability for clinicians to read and process nuclear medicine images from their own PCs throughout the institution. It was recently installed at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio, allowing the facility to provide high-quality healthcare to the surrounding communities in Stark County.

Xeleris 2 enables virtually all of a department’s nuclear medicine imaging systems to connect to a single workstation via DirectConnects that standardizes reading tools and calculation methods for different makes and generations of nuclear medicine equipment. It also offers a user-friendly and intuitive user interface, that simplifies workflow for clinicians by allowing the replacement and removal of many competitive devices. Further, it modernizes older GE nuclear medicine cameras, adding newer and more efficient applications and serviceability tools while maintaining compatibility with old peripherals and archive media.

“Xeleris has improved efficiency by enabling the physician and technologist to process at one workstation instead of having multiple specialized workstations,” explained Sherri Cole, radiology unit director, Aultman Hospital. “All studies are on the same workstation – PET, heart and bone scans – simplifying processing with more accurate motion correction, MUGA uniformity and processing consistency.”

The workstation’s Multimedia Creator provides a quick and easy way to provide an electronic record of the patient procedure on CD, Network, or e-mail for sharing results with family or referring physicians.

The company recently shipped the 6,000th Xeleris.

Also new at the show is an application for performing dynamic studies of the heart to detect perfusion defects. Dynamic VUE is available on Discovery Dimension Console on the Discovery STE and Discovery VCT, as well as the AW Workstation, and allows physicians to perform qualitative analysis of the heart tissue to better determine the extent of disease and, therefore, select appropriate treatment options. It will help enable cardiologists to determine the existence of underlying cardiovascular disease as well as quantify the level of disease in the coronary vessels, GE said.

At the heart of Dynamic VUE is the capability to perform advanced dynamic studies, which allows clinicians to determine the degree of perfusion defects. Combined with the workflow efficient dynamic studies that can be performed on Discovery Dimension Console, Dynamic VUE facilitates the quantitative assessment of myocardial tissue.

Enabled with Dynamic VUE, clinicians can perform various analyses including summing over selected temporal windows, extracting multiple regions of interest (ROIs) from which the Time Activity Curves (TACs) can be extracted. Scaling and Visualization of the activities and the exportability of TACs Provide unique opportunities for further advanced analysis valuable for early disease detection.

The application can perform analyses of dynamic ECG- and also respiratory-gated studies. Exported data analyzed by academic or other third-party tools could facilitate the evaluation of minute capillaries and micro vascular vessel diseases. It also is applicable to the analysis of brain tissue as well as tumor assessment where the data is acquired dynamically or respiratory-gated in oncology studies.

GE also is highlighting the Discovery VCT 64-slice PET/CT system that recently gained its first installations for cardiac imaging applications at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and the molecular imaging research institution Turku PET Center in Finland. It combines the company’s LightSpeed VCT and Discovery PET systems.

Further, GE also is focusing on recent advances, including:

  • The Infinia Hawkeye nuclear medicine system provides users with improvements in coverage and acquisition time. Specifically, Infinia Hawkeye 4 (4-slice) features two times the speed and resolution of single slice systems, according to work done at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, and it can be sited in the same footprint. The system produces 5 millimeter slices to best match the SPECT resolution and acquisition conditions, and in approximately half the scan time of other SPECT/CT systems, GE said. Orders began in January, while shipments begin next month; 
  • Evolution for Bone – a recently introduced suite of reconstruction tools for GE’s Infinia with Xeleris functional imaging workstation provides clinicians with excellent image clarity and up to a 50 percent reduction in imaging time; and

  • GE in collaboration with UltraSPECT will showcase Xpress.cardiac, the new wide beam reconstruction (WBR) technology for faster nuclear cardiovascular imaging.

  • The company is highlighting at SNM a number of academic and pharmaceutical collaborations to help affect change, including:
  • Roche - Roche and GE Healthcare are working together to develop personalized care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. In controlled clinical trials, patients taking a Roche anti-amyloid drug candidate for Alzheimer’s disease will be monitored clinically for drug response using GE’s PET molecular diagnostic imaging agent. This measures and tracks levels of beta-amyloid, a form of brain plaque believed to be associated with memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease patients. 
  • Eli Lilly – Eli Lilly and GE Healthcare also are collaborating to accelerate the discovery and development of new diagnostics and therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease. As part of the agreement, GE Healthcare will have access to Lilly’s extensive molecular libraries to search for compounds that would be promising for use as targeted molecular diagnostic imaging agents for Alzheimer’s disease. Lilly would have access to any targeted molecular diagnostic agents developed by GE under this collaboration to use in discovery, development and validation of Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics from the early research phase through clinical trials.
  • Merck – Through GE’s imaging network Imanet, GE Healthcare helped Merck develop and validate the anti-nausea drug Emend (aprepitant) which is designed specifically to help prevent the nausea that cancer patients experience as a side effect of chemotherapy. GE Healthcare’s PET imaging expertise and specialized research techniques helped establish dose and efficacy during the development of this drug, which has since been brought to market for use in cancer indications.
  • GE introduced a full ring solid state detector SPECT for small animal imaging. The EXplore speCZT utilizes a cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) detector, which allows for full 360-degree coverage around the animal, capable of up to 1 percent sensitivity with certain collimators, GE said. CZT also allows for high-energy resolution to enable dual or triple radio-nuclide imaging. With the increased sensitivity of speCZT, medical researchers can now perform dynamic small animal SPECT imaging to more precisely quantify radio-tracer uptake and identify morphological changes. This is particularly important in the evaluation of new biomarkers, diagnostic and therapeutic pharmaceuticals and radiopharmaceuticals. The eXplore speCZT can be fully integrated with eXplore Locus, GE’s high-resolution small animal CT. It will be commercially available in the second half of 2006.

  • Finally, GE is featuring its high-capacity commercial cyclotron for PET radioisotope production. The new PETtrace10 provides customers with high PET radioisotope production capability, offering PET radiopharmaceutical users increased capacity and reliability for producing PET radioisotopes. GE’s latest  PET radiopharmacy product introductions include: PETtrace Methane Target System, PETtrace 18F2 Proton System, PETtrace External Beam Line, PETtrace 10, MINItrace GEN II target, MINItrace GEN II Ion Source and MINItrace Smart Alignment.

    PETtrace Methane Target System. And, GE’s FASTlab also was on display, which is a multi-tracer cassette-based PET chemistry synthesis platform with an integrated cassette preloaded with pharmaceutical grade reagents resulting in faster synthesis and higher yields.