Hybrid scanning, the driver in previously lackluster PET and SPECT markets, has drawn strength almost exclusively from oncological applications of PET/CT. Eager to break new ground, established vendors are exploring cardiological applications for PET/CT, while developing SPECT/CT as a cost-effective alternative to PET/CT. Long-term growth is being sought in the development of biomarkers.
There is still room, however, for improvement in the conventional space, as advanced visualization techniques promise to extend the bounds of conventional and hybrid imaging. Surprises are also possible in the nuts and bolts of the cameras themselves, as indicated by Israeli startup Spectrum Dynamics.
Founded in the late 1990s, Dilon specializes in the development of new products based on research conducted at national laboratories. Its first product is a compact, mobile gamma camera dedicated to breast imaging.
In midsummer, Gamma Medica, a Northridge, CA, developer and manufacturer of clinical and preclinical imaging systems, merged with a producer of solid-state integrated digital detector electronics and imaging detector subsystems: Ideas of Oslo, Norway. The combined company is focused on the development of integrated preclinical imaging devices for medical R&D. The firm upgraded its X-SPECT Pre-Clinical Imaging System.
One of the pioneers of hybrid imaging, GE showed developments in SPECT/CT, PET/CT, postprocessing software, and cyclotrons.
Hitachi focused on the characteristics that set its Sceptre P3 apart from other PET/CTs, particularly dual-attenuation correction, which combines both CT and cesium-source attenuation correction to image patients with metal implants and prosthetics.
PEM flex PET scanner is optimized for small body parts. The company, which is relocating its headquarters to San Diego, is working with the Mayo Clinic to validate and commercialize a B-12 PET agent for visualizing breast tumors.
The company's Gemini PET/CT and Precedence SPECT/CT lines, each of which can be configured with CTs offering up to 64 slices, address fusion imaging. Its SKYLight gantry-free gamma camera is positioned as a next-generation nuc med platform.
The company features Symbia TruePoint SPECT/CT and Biograph PET/CT products in combination with software optimized for hybrid imaging, as well as preclinical scanner technologies MicroPET, microCAT, and microCAT+SPECT designed to support basic research and drug R&D. Siemens is also developing new molecular imaging biomarkers to address disease mechanisms.
Executives at the Israeli startup claim the company has developed a prototype gamma camera that can generate 10 times greater sensitivity and double the spatial resolution of conventional Anger cameras, raising the possibility of real-time imaging that shows the perfusion of one or more radiotracers through the myocardium. D-SPECT (dynamic SPECT) is composed of solid-state detectors made from cadmium zinc telluride crystals, a mechanism that moves the detector inside its casing, and algorithms that optimize acquired data. Production units are scheduled to begin shipping in the U.S. by the end of 2006.
Gamma cameras supplied by Siemens are enhanced by Toshiba software.