NIH grants $2M for PEM/PET research

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The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has granted West Virginia University (WVU) researchers $2 million over four years for its positron emission mammography (PEM)/PET system, which images the breast and helps guide biopsy of suspicious areas.

Some of the funding will be used to incorporate an x-ray/CT imaging system into the device, said Raymond R. Raylman, PhD, professor and vice chair of research in the WVU School of Medicine department of radiology in Morgantown. PEM/PET was originally developed by the radiology research group under a $1.7 million NIH grant.

“CT imaging will give us structural information about the breast by providing a 3D x-ray,” Raylman explained. “That way, in addition to detecting breast cancer, we can monitor treatment to see if it’s effective. Physicians would be able to learn within a few weeks--rather than waiting months--if chemotherapy is effective and make a change in treatment if warranted.”

WVU’s partners in the research project are the University of Washington, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Xoran Technologies, a company that develops small CTs.