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.
- The Dilon 6800 Gamma Camera is optimized for breast-specific gamma imaging achieved through the uptake by cancer of sestamibi. Clinical studies indicate resolution to 3 mm with a 92% specificity. The company claims it has the potential to reduce the false-negative biopsy rate. More than a dozen units have been installed in the U.S.
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.
- SuperSPECT improves resolution twofold with no loss of sensitivity. With the improved processing algorithms, image resolution for a 1-mm pinhole improves from 1.1 mm to 0.6 mm.
- SpiralSPECT obtains high-resolution images of large subjects in a single procedure.
- Multi-Pinhole SPECT improves the sensitivity of MicroSPECT images by almost an order of magnitude without increasing the diameter of the gamma camera's pinhole aperture, which typically reduces spatial resolution.
One of the pioneers of hybrid imaging, GE showed developments in SPECT/CT, PET/CT, postprocessing software, and cyclotrons.
- Infinia Hawkeye 4 SPECT/CT combines the Infinia gamma camera with a quad-slice CT delivering four 5-mm slices rather than the 10-mm slices provided by GE's single-slice hybrid this latest configuration is designed to complement. Clinical sites will evaluate the Infinia Hawkeye 4 until spring, after which GE expects to begin full production.
- The Discovery Dimension Console integrated into the company's flagship Discovery STE (Elite) - and, soon, other PET/CTs - is designed to optimize PET/CT workflow. The new console simultaneously displays a static image and a 4D motion study, performs advanced 2D and 3D reconstruction techniques, and tailors the CT x-ray dose to each patient, a capability that can reduce dose by up to 40%.
- Software package Advantage Windows Volume Viewer Plus, which runs on GE's Advantage Windows workstation, integrates PET data regarding the tumor and CT data representing vasculature, selected soft tissue, and bone. Output is designed to support surgical planning.
- The Discovery VCT 64-slice PET/CT system was unveiled as an upcoming commercialized product optimized for cardiac imaging. The system, shown first at the 2004 RSNA meeting as a work-in-progress, is scheduled for routine delivery in the fourth quarter of 2006.
- Evolution for Bone, a suite of reconstruction tools for the Infinia and the Xeleris functional imaging workstation released at the 2005 Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting, was showcased as a means for improving image quality, while reducing scan time up to 50%.
- PETtrace10, shown initially at the 2005 Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting, is positioned as GE's highest capacity cyclotron for producing PET radioisotopes. The dual-particle, dual-extraction cyclotron can deliver 10 Ci of F-18 in two hours.
- PETtrace External Beam Line redirects protons and deuterons produced by GE's PETtrace cyclotrons to a location where they can be readily used to generate isotopes used for radiotracer synthesis. This approach promises to improve productivity by combining routine clinical and R&D research work using a single cyclotron.
Hitachi Medical Systems America
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.
Naviscan PET Systems
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.
Philips Medical Systems
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 algorithm Astonish provides PET-like resolution with a collimated gamma camera, according to the company, by improving SPECT resolution, image contrast, and signal-to-noise texture.
- AutoQuant Plus optimizes the review and quantification of nuclear cardiology studies by integrating perfusion, function, and reporting features.
Siemens Medical Solutions
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.
- TrueD supports the comparison of patient scans from two different points in time, such as pre- and post-therapy.
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.
Toshiba America Medical Systems
Gamma cameras supplied by Siemens are enhanced by Toshiba software.
- The t.cam family of gamma cameras features enhanced e.soft acquisition and processing.