PET/CT tutorial project piques interest of NCI

November 29, 2004

Recognizing that PET/CT is quickly becoming standard in oncological imaging and that quality teaching materials are needed, Dr. Todd Blodgett has taken matters into his own hands.

Recognizing that PET/CT is quickly becoming standard in oncological imaging and that quality teaching materials are needed, Dr. Todd Blodgett has taken matters into his own hands.

Working nights and weekends, Blodgett, a radiology resident at the University of Pittsburgh, has undertaken the enormous task of developing a semicomprehensive teaching tool to help radiologists and nuclear medicine physicians learn the essential skills involved in interpreting combined PET/CT scans.

The project could feasibly take several years to complete without support, Blodgett said in response to a question during a scientific session Monday. Following his presentation, however, Laurence Clarke, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute delivered an early holiday gift to Blodgett.

Clarke, the branch chief of imaging technology development for the NCI's Cancer Imaging Program, said there might be a place for Blodgett's work within the NCI.

So far, Blodgett has reviewed records of 10,025 patients who have been scanned at the University of Pittsburgh since 1998 on three different PET/CT scanners. Of those, he has selected 300 case studies for the tutorial.

Each of the 300 cases includes a detailed case history, single or multiple PET/CT scan findings, a differential diagnosis, pathologic correlation with gross and microscopic images when available, treatment notes, and follow-up information. Each study, including all images, can easily be printed or converted to a PDF file.

The tutorial also has about 100 cases that are presented as unknown. Participants can answer questions to test their knowledge. Blodgett set up a module for residents and fellows, including syllabi (that can be printed quickly), a list of frequently asked questions, and a case of the month with images and questions.

There are currently 23 mini-lectures that cover various topics pertinent to the interpretation of PET/CT, focusing on the clinical applications and utility of the combined modality. Lectures, available in video, PDF files, or PowerPoint slide presentations, last from 15 to 45 minutes.

Journal references are organized by indication and include key references with listed abstracts and Web links. Other Web-based resources and links are included.

The project is not yet available to the public, which was the first question from the floor after Blodgett's presentation. He indicated that when completed, it will be released either on the Web or on a DVD, depending on sponsorship or support.

Then the NCI stepped in. Blodgett's project is in line with several initiatives at the Cancer Imaging Program, Clarke said, including a database for lung cancer screening and another for response to therapy in lung cancer patients.