by John W. Mitchell
, Senior Correspondent | June 14, 2017
At the SNMMI meeting in Denver, the advancements taking place in PET and SPECT molecular imaging systems were on full display on the showroom floor.
“It took 60 years to optimize the conventional SPECT technology to where we are today, however, within just one year, we made significant improvements to our new Discovery NM/CT 670 CZT for molecular imaging applications based on what our customers were telling us,” Luke Chrusciel, global product marketing manager of Nuclear Medicine at GE Healthcare, told HCB News. “They are really happy with the results, and now they are talking about doing whole body SPECT exams and moving away from planar bone scans.”
These advancements include up to 75 percent faster scan times than conventional technology models, which also means up to 75 percent lower injected dose for patients. It also enables multiple scans in one visit due to the CZT technology’s inherent energy resolution. The Discovery NM/CT 670 CZT offers greater than 40 percent improvement in SPECT contrast-to-noise ratio, which is a key factor in small lesion detectability.
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“The system provides further dose reduction over conventional technologies, and therefore, it could lower the overall cost of radiopharmaceuticals and deliver financial benefits to the nuclear medicine department,” said Professor C. Scheiber from Hospices Civils de Lyon — one of several medical centers that collaborated with GE on the design.
Chrusciel also said that a software tool, Lister, helps clinicians determine if they are losing any diagnostic results by reducing scan times or lowering doses.
On the PET/CT side, GE has introduced a scalable offering for the Discovery MI. It features a 3-ring, 15cm axial field of view, which provides greater access to digital technology to more customers. The 3-ring is fully upgradeable in existing units in the field to the 20cm 4-ring.
With this flexibility, the system is marketed as a long-term, fully-scalable investment that will allow hospitals to upgrade as patient and department needs change over the years. Since its introduction last year of the Discovery MI system, the company has 50 orders and 25 site installs globally.
“One of the most striking features of Discovery MI is the improved sensitivity,” says Dr. Ronny Ralf Buechel, a cardiologist and nuclear medicine physician at University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland. “We didn’t know how low we could go with the injected activity and radiation dose, so we began to cautiously lower the dose. Now, we are around 50 percent of the injected dose for PET scans compared to the prior system.”
GE Healthcare is also introducing Discovery MI DR, a versatile PET/CT system that effectively and efficiently images the patients you see every day with faster scan times, low dose and accurate quantification.
According to Burris, it opens the door to imaging clinically challenging cases beyond oncology, to include cardiac and brain imaging. With the Discovery MI DR’s modular design, it’s ready for already-available digital detection technology.