Promises of PET

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Justine Cadet, Executive Editor

While PET continues to have a burgeoning role in the clinical setting, its prevalence in the preclinical imaging setting also is proliferating and simultaneously proving its efficacy and feasibility.

Specifically, a recent IMV research report revealed that PET imaging has grown 7 percent on an average from 2008 to 2010 per year, with an estimated 1,744,000 clinical PET patient studies  performed in the U.S. alone in 2010.

In the preclinical imaging environment, researchers from University of California, Davis, conducted phantom and in vivo experiments to test the feasibility of simultaneous PET and 3D fluorescence optical tomography (FOT) imaging. “This new type of fusion imaging has the potential to anatomic, functional, physiologic and molecular information,” the study authors wrote.

Down the line, if the technology continues to prove safe and effective, this technology could have particular benefits for oncology patients, particularly in the localization of tumors.

For future research plans, Li and colleagues plan to develop a new mirror to reduce photon attenuation and scatter in PET, extension to multispectral FOT and the use of a multimodal phantom to compute the rigid registration of the PET and FOT image volumes and account for any small variability in mirror positioning within the PET scanner. Also, they plan to use this system to study multimodality imaging probes and complementary pairs of radiotracers and fluorescent probes in vivo.

In very early clinical imaging studies outside the U.S., researchers from the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontoloy have evaluated the newly-developed radiopharmaceutical C-4DST for imaging brain tumors, and it was found to be safe and effective.

In a very small study, with only nine patients, the researchers reported, “Administration of C-4DST was well tolerated by all subjects. No drug-related adverse events were reported in this study. No clinically important trends indicative of a safety signal were noted for laboratory parameters, vital signs or electrocardiogram parameters.”

However, to confirm whether C-4DST is a useful cell proliferation marker in humans would require further study.

PET is continually being employed to assess and towards patients at various stages in the care continuum, and much of these preclinical imaging will continue to inform its usefulness for clinical decision-making.

Please let us know of any PET research taking place at your facility.

Justine Cadet