ADAC solidifies market positionwith new SNM product releases

June 21, 1995

Two new dual-head cameras lead introductionsNuclear medicine market leader ADAC Laboratories served noticeat last week's Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting that it doesnot intend to rest on its laurels. The Milpitas, CA, company unveileda range

Two new dual-head cameras lead introductions

Nuclear medicine market leader ADAC Laboratories served noticeat last week's Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting that it doesnot intend to rest on its laurels. The Milpitas, CA, company unveileda range of products that includes two new gamma cameras and atechnology it hopes will make PET-like imaging possible on a SPECTcamera.

ADAC's new gamma cameras are designed to focus the company'sofferings in the dominant dual-head segment at a price point lowerthan the premium variable-angle Vertex. Cardio Epic is a fixed90° dual-head system, while Solus Epic is a 180° dual-headcamera. Both systems are based on ADAC's Vertex variable-anglecamera, but include design improvements.

Solus Epic has been optimized for oncology studies. Solus isa cost-effective alternative to a variable-angle camera, witha price range of about $540,000 compared to about $615,000 forVertex. Part of the cost reduction came from using a semiautomaticcollimator exchanger instead of a fully automatic one, accordingto Randy Weatherhead, ADAC marketing manager.

Cardio Epic has been optimized for cardiac exams and comesequipped with ADAC's Vantage attenuation-correction system (SCAN5/10/95). ADAC's approach to attenuation correction uses a narrow-beamline source and an electronic scan window, which ADAC claims hasadvantages over other techniques. Both new gamma cameras alsofeature a 90-cm open gantry, called Access.

Development of the two new systems is a sign that ADAC is continuingto aggressively pursue the dual-head market, which dominates activityin gamma camera purchases. ADAC estimates that it holds more than40% of the market share in the dual-head segment, a position ithas achieved through sales of its Vertex Epic and Genesys systems.Ian Farmer, ADAC vice president of marketing, expects Solus andCardio to increase the company's share even further.

"These new products will meet the specific requirementsin oncology and cardiology applications, which represent 75% ofall nuclear medicine procedures performed," Farmer said.

ADAC will begin production shipments of Cardio and Solus laterthis summer.

ADAC's molecular coincidence detection (MCD) technology wasshown for the first time as a work-in-progress at the Minneapolismeeting. It represents a different approach to positron imagingon SPECT cameras.

Unlike some of its competitors developing high-energy products,ADAC does not use collimators. Instead, ADAC engineers have capitalizedon the digital electronics found in the Epic digital detectors,introduced at last year's Radiological Society of North Americameeting (SCAN 12/14/94). This so-called "electronic collimation"promises at least a two-fold increase in resolution compared togamma cameras using 511-keV collimators, according to Andy Eckert,president of ADAC Medical Systems. The intrinsic resolution withMCD is about 4 mm, versus over 10 mm with 511-keV collimators,Eckert said.

ADAC hopes the technology will provide a cost-effective wayto do positron imaging with the image quality needed to make thetechnique clinically useful.

"We hope to take PET out of the research labs and getit into the day-to-day nuclear medicine business," Eckertsaid.

MCD was developed with the assistance of UGM Medical Systemsof Philadelphia, a pioneer in the PET business. The technologymeasures coincidents, which occur when photons are released at180° angles due to the annihilation of an electron by a positron.The technology's sophisticated electronics allow high count rates,while special software and added computer horsepower are neededfor processing the data. ADAC has had to overcome several technologicalobstacles to develop the technology, according to Peter Nelleman,senior detector engineer at ADAC.

"The stopping power of three-eights-inch sodium iodidecrystals is not changed, which means you have a fairly low percentageof counts that are actually usable as coincidents," Nellemansaid. "In order to get a decent number of counts in yourfinal image, your detector has to be able to handle an extremelyhigh counting rate so that as many coincidence events as possiblecan be recorded."

This has been achieved through the development of special triggercircuits and the ability to do local sentroiding of the photomultipliertubes (PMTs). Local sentroiding ensures that the PMT with thehighest output that is closest to the event is used to recordthe scintillation.

ADAC has filed for 510(k) clearance for MCD, which will beavailable as an option on Vertex Epic and Solus Epic systems.

Other ADAC introductions featured at the SNM show includedthe MacroVision and ProVision utilities, which will run on allof the company's Pegasys computer systems. The utilities featureobject-driven programming that allows users to define macro protocolsor write specific applications. ProVision offers a higher levelof functionality than is available on MacroVison, permitting programmersto create custom objects or algorithms using C or C++ languages.