Israeli firm promises to shake up nuclear medicine

December 5, 2005

Imagine a gamma camera that generates video showing the perfusion of a radiotracer through the myocardium, the image brightening and dimming with the wash-in and wash-out of the tracer. Now imagine using a cocktail of radiotracers with each ingredient appearing on screen in a different color, together displaying a range of physiologic data.

Imagine a gamma camera that generates video showing the perfusion of a radiotracer through the myocardium, the image brightening and dimming with the wash-in and wash-out of the tracer. Now imagine using a cocktail of radiotracers with each ingredient appearing on screen in a different color, together displaying a range of physiologic data.

This is the future of nuclear medicine, according to Spectrum Dynamics. And it could arrive in a few months.

The prototype of the D-SPECT (dynamic SPECT) gamma camera debuted at this year's RSNA meeting at McCormick Place. There executives of the Haifa-based company explained to DI SCAN how detectors made from cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) crystals, combined with tungsten collimators and controlled by specialized software, can generate 10 times greater sensitivity and produce double the spatial resolution of conventional Anger cameras. They based these conclusions on phantom studies performed by the company.

Preliminary tests on human volunteers have produced high-resolution cardiac images in two minutes compared with 15 to 20 minutes for a conventional exam.

Clinical tests will begin at a hospital in Israel early next year with a multisite clinical trial set to begin in the U.S. in mid-2006. By the end of the year, Spectrum Dynamics expects to begin shipping production units in the U.S.

The primary application of D-SPECT will be as a stand-alone cardiac gamma camera, but the lightweight, highly portable unit might eventually be docked to a 64-slice CT scanner, as one major OEM on the RSNA exhibit floor suggested to DI SCAN. The extraordinary speed of D-SPECT and its ability to be undocked and moved out of the way would keep the CT from being underutilized, while providing SPECT data for fusion with CT.

The CZT detector can record very high energy photons, meaning it might be tuned for PET.

These possibilities will be examined, according to executives at Spectrum Dynamics, but not right away. First, the company wants to establish the credentials of its new camera.

Note: The technology and its clinical potential with input from company executives and luminaries contributing to its design and testing will be profiled in the Dec. 19 issue of DI SCAN.