The first images from a scan of the entire human body have been released by the University of California (UC). They were generated by EXPLORER, which combines PET (positron emission tomography) with CT (X-ray computed tomography) scans. The imaging is rapid, so it has many potential applications. Researchers could use it to track tagged molecules like drugs as they moved through the body, for example. It could also dramatically improve diagnostics.
“The level of detail was astonishing, especially once we got the reconstruction method a bit more optimized,” said Ramsey Badawi, who worked with Simon Cherry, both UC Davis scientists, on this effort. “We could see features that you just don’t see on regular PET scans. And the dynamic sequence showing the radiotracer moving around the body in three dimensions over time was, frankly, mind-blowing. There is no other device that can obtain data like this in humans, so this is truly novel.”
EXPLORER is about 40 times faster PET scans are now, producing a whole-body scan in under 30 seconds. It can also scan with less radiation. “The tradeoff between image quality, acquisition time and injected radiation dose will vary for different applications, but in all cases, we can scan better, faster or with less radiation dose, or some combination of these,” Cherry said.
Source: UC Davis