Drum roll please… An image by Stanford University researchers that details taking molecular/nuclear imaging to a three-dimensional level has been named the 2005 Image of the Year at the Society of Nuclear Medicine's (SNM) 52nd Annual Meeting in Toronto earlier this week.
Meeting with tradition, the winner was selected and announced by Henry, N. Wagner, MD, former SNM president, historian, and professor of environmental health sciences at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.
Wagner explained that the Stanford researchers stretched volume imaging and produced "an exquisite structural and biochemical image."
"It really represents four dimensional volumetric imaging now becoming the state-of-the-art in what some people call 'nuclear imaging' but what I prefer to call molecular medicine," Wagner told Health Imaging & IT. He added, "Nuclear medicine has been volumetric for a long time, but now the combination of the four dimensional volumetric aspects together it is going to be the state-of-the-art everywhere before too long."
The image is part of the study Novel 3-D Rendered FDG PET-CT Virtual Bronchoscopy and Colonography for Improved Lesion Localization and Pre-Surgical Evaluation, performed by researchers from the department of radiology in the division of nuclear medicine at Stanford University.
"This study is intended to be an initial step in developing a new paradigm for reviewing and interpreting positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) images in a fully 3D-rendered format," said Senior Scientist and SNM member Sanjiv Gambhir, director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford University and chief of nuclear medicine and a professor in the departments of radiology and bioengineering at the Stanford School of Medicine.
"Our new strategy is to fuse PET and CT in order to travel through and around organs for improved visualization of the 3D anatomical and functional data sets," said Gambhir.
Through their work, Stanford researchers Andrew Quon, Sandy Napel, Christopher Beaulieu and Gambhir offered the possibility for PET/CT to actually visualize structure and function from the inside out throughout the patient's body.
"As computer and scanner technology advances, imaging modalities such as virtual CT colonography and bronchoscopy will propagate, particularly for presurgical planning and visualization," said Quon, clinical assistant professor of radiology/diagnostic radiology at Stanford.
"Our Stanford team hopes this work will be significant for our patients and for the molecular/nuclear imaging field, leading to multiple applications of our work," said Gambhir. "Of course, more research needs to be done; additional studies with larger, specific patient populations and additional radiotracers need to be carried out."