PET makes the move to everyday imaging

By: Jane Lowers, Supplements editor

With CMS approval of FDG-PET for diagnosis and staging of lung, colon, and selected other cancers, many early adopters of PET have their hands full. On the horizon, however, are more advanced uses for PET that could entrench the modality in the diagnosis and therapy of everything from neurodegenerative disease to breast cancer.

This supplement to Diagnostic Imaging looks at PET's status from both sides: the clinical advances that move beyond standard FDG applications and the economic factors that PET facilities must consider when building their practice around a new PET or PET/CT fusion scanner.

Dr. Harry Agress discusses the mechanics of opening and running a PET center from hospital administrator buy-in to patient flow and generation of referrals. A number of new users of PET/CT fusion equipment discuss the economic practicalities of incorporating the new technology into an existing practice.

While the workload of both types of scanners is built around FDG, imagers may need to expand their repertoire soon: As reports on breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease imaging indicate, new tracers may soon blur the line between imaging and treatment.