Imaging goes 3-D: 'exquisite' PET/CT image captures SNM's 2005 Image of the Year

organs for improved visualization of the 3-D anatomical and functional data sets," detailed Gambhir.

Combining PET with CT provides merged or "fused" 3-D pictures (volumetric) of the body's metabolism and structure. The Stanford researchers--Andrew Quon, Sandy Napel, Christopher Beaulieu and Gambhir--took PET/CT one step further, offering the possibility of actually visualizing structure and function from the inside out throughout the patient's body, such as the airways and bowels. "As computer and scanner technology advances, imaging modalities--such as virtual CT colonography and bronchoscopy--will propagate, particularly for presurgical planning and visualization," noted Quon, clinical assistant professor of radiology/diagnostic radiology at Stanford. "This pilot study demonstrates the usefulness of fusing 3-D-rendered PET images to CT images, allowing for simultaneous 3-D viewing of multiple modalities," added the SNM member. "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, he said.

The use of PET to gain molecular or functional information and CT/MRI for anatomical imaging has been dramatic over the past few years. PET is a powerful medical imaging modality that noninvasively (nonsurgically) uses special imaging systems and radioactive tracers to produce pictures of the function and metabolism of the cells in the body. CT is an X-ray procedure that generates a detailed view of the anatomy or structure of organs and tissues in the body.

Although virtual bronchoscopies and virtual colonographies are already available, they do not provide the important functional and biochemical information that can be captured with this new strategy, said Gambhir. "This is a

Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine

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