SNM Review

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It was the first Society of Nuclear Medicine show for the newly aligned GE Healthcare (formerly GE Medical Systems) after its acquisition of Amersham plc in April 2004. The company was on-board promoting a message of "personalized medicine" and featuring a number of advancements to its nuclear medicine portfolio.

Addressing the growth in nuclear cardiology, GE showcased advanced cardiac applications of its Discovery ST positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system. Designed for cardiac imaging, the system aids in detecting coronary atherosclerosis earlier and define more-effective therapies.

"We are entering a new era in non-invasive cardiology where hybrid imaging will play a major role in managing heart disease," said Karim Benali, MD, MSc, global manager, cardiology PET/CT and nuclear medicine at GE.

Highlighting its new advanced application HeartFusion, the technology aligns the vascular coronary tree created by CT images on the three-dimensional (3D) functional data from PET images. Together, Discovery PET/CT with heart fusion allows physicians to quantify and analyze the impact of atherosclerotic lesions on heart muscle.

GE's Myoview, also on board at the show, is used to diagnose heart disease by visualizing blood flow to heart muscle. In the past year, Myoview received the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the assessment of left ventricular function in patients with coronary artery disease. GE says that it will continue to expand Myoview on a global basis.

GE also launched its second-generation Infinia nuclear medicine system. The company said it expects to install more than 250 systems by the end of the year.

Enhanced features of the next-generation system include: a 5-mm CT axial resolution with Hawkeye for enhanced single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) lesion detection; fan beam collimation for brain SPECT scanning efficiency and resolution, and a camera-based positron emission tomography (CBPET) option for extended clinical utility. New detector motions have been added as well to accommodate more patient positions and enhanced productivity, including a camera controlled graphic user interface.

GE introduced at the show a new system that will help produce high capacity and high specific activity PET tracers for use in research and the detection and diagnosis of major diseases.

The new GE cyclotron technology was designed to help produce a high capacity 18F-F2 target. 18F-F2 is a critical starting point in production, by the electrophilic route of F-DOPA, which is showing potential in the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. Research using F-DOPA is currently underway at major institutions.

The development is the result of a major collaborative effort with Imanet, a joint venture that began with Amersham plc and a number of PET research centers, and now continues with GE.


Siemens Medical Solutions at SNM 2004 unveiled a new SPECT/CT product as well as showcasing its range of nuclear medicine systems.

The company launched the TruePoint SPECT/CT (single photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT) system. The system, which integrates Siemens' e.cam SPECT with its CT technology, can be used in the diagnosis and treatment for cancer, cardiac and neurological diseases. In cardiac applications, TruePoint SPECT/CT will provide information about cardiac function and overall health with its ability to measure attenuation correction with diagnostic multi-slice CT.

Siemens also introduced the Symbia platform for its TruePoint SPECT/CT. The Symbia platform enables clinicians to utilize the device in three ways to perform three separate studies - SPECT, multi-slice CT and SPECT/CT. Symbia offers various multi-slice CT configurations with speeds of up to 0.6 seconds per rotation. The integration of syngo, Siemens' software platform, into the Symbia operating system also offers a common, intuitive user interface and enables easy access to patient data.

From its family of nuclear medicine products, Siemens demonstrated its biograph positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) system. Key features include HI-REZ, a high resolution PET option that can provide greater than 250 percent improvement in volumetric image resolution; the Pico-3D option which provides ultra-fast detector electronics that substantially improve image quality; and a six-slice CT biograph companion to existing two- and 16-slice