Technology advances, PET spark nuclear medicine at RSNA show

January 7, 1999

Nuclear medicine vendors rolled into the RSNA show confident in the strength of the technology advances in their exhibits and the health of the overall market. The U.S. nuclear medicine market exhibited robust growth in 1998, with vendors predicting that

Nuclear medicine vendors rolled into the RSNA show confident in the strength of the technology advances in their exhibits and the health of the overall market. The U.S. nuclear medicine market exhibited robust growth in 1998, with vendors predicting that it would close with a 25% increase in gamma camera sales compared with 1997. Some companies estimated that U.S. nuclear medicine transactions would break $400 million for 1998.

Industry watchers attribute the modality’s health to technological advances in nuclear medicine, increased availability of FDG, and Medicare reimbursement for PET lung cancer applications. In major corporate developments, the biggest news came in September, when GE Medical Systems agreed to acquire Elscint’s nuclear medicine and MR units for $100 million. The deal closed on Nov. 25, only days before the show. It further consolidates an already tightening industry.

ADAC Laboratories

  • ADAC introduced two new variable-angle gamma cameras at the show: Forte and Vertex V60 (SCAN 12/16/98). Forte is a dual-head gamma camera with an open gantry design and several added features, such as Epix HP digital detectors and an upgraded workstation.
  • Vertex V60 is the next generation of ADAC’s Vertex dual-ring variable-angle system and includes the Epix HP detectors and a new computer. Vertex V60 also offers ADAC’s Molecular Coincidence Detection/Attenuation Correction (MCD/AC) technique for PET-like imaging and Vantage attenuation correction option.
  • The Milpitas, CA, firm also presented CPET, its dedicated PET scanner. ADAC expected to end 1998 with more than 10 orders for the cameras, according to company executives.

Digirad

  • Digirad highlighted its solid-state digital gamma camera, 2020 TC Imager. Digirad emphasized that the 14 x 14-inch detector on the camera can conduct the same scanning procedures as full-size systems, with the exception of full-body bone scans. The San Diego company in November signed a U.S. distribution and service agreement with National Imaging Resources of Birmingham, AL, for 2020 TC Imager (SCAN 11/25/98).
  • Digirad also showcased its SPECT rotating chair, which was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration Nov. 4. Clinical images taken with 2020 TC Imager and the SPECT chair were also featured.

GE Medical Systems

  • Amid hoopla over GE’s acquisition of Elscint’s nuclear medicine and MR businesses, the Milwaukee vendor displayed its Millennium VG and Millennium MG variable-angle gamma cameras, and highlighted nonuniform attenuation correction protocols available for Millennium MG.
  • GE brought upgraded software for its Genie workstation to the show and displayed its entire PET product line, including its line of cyclotrons: PETrace and the work-in-progress MiniTrace, a smaller cyclotron the company expects to ship in mid-1999.
  • Because the Elscint deal closed just prior to the conference, Elscint exhibited nuclear medicine products in its own booth that carried the GE brand name. Panels in the booth displayed information on Elscint’s work-in-progress cadmium zinc telluride solid-state detectors, which are being developed in collaboration with GEMS and Israeli firms eV Products and Isorad.

Hitachi Medical Corporation of America

  • Hitachi has sold three of its variable-angle dual-head digital SpectraDigital V250DSP gamma cameras in the U.S. and 16 in Japan, according to Gary Enos, general manager of the company’s nuclear medicine division in Twinsburg, OH.
  • In its RSNA booth, Hitachi emphasized its work on nonuniform attenuation correction (NUA) protocols and coincidence detection reconstruction (CDR) techniques. CDR is installed at two clinical validation sites, and Hitachi expects to submit an application to the FDA for both NUA and CDR early next year.
  • The company also highlighted the DICOM capability of its workstations, displaying its SpectraDigital 300SS nuclear imaging workstation, as well as a new product, SpectraDigital NetStation, a network-wide, remote multisession processing and acquisition station.

IS2 Research

  • Exhibiting at its first RSNA show, IS2 highlighted its two single-head cameras: NuCamma C+, a round field-of-view model, and NuCamma Rx, a rectangular field-of-view system. Both systems received 510(k) clearance in September (SCAN 9/30/98).
  • The Nepean, Ontario-based company also displayed iStation, a workstation with gated SPECT capability that was developed by Segami of Ellicott City, MD.
  • IS2 plans to develop a dual-head camera in the coming year for display at the 1999 Society of Nuclear Medicine conference.

Picker International

  • Picker emphasized its Axis dual-head gamma camera and Irix triple-head gamma camera. The company has installed a total of 120 cameras, according to company executives.
  • The Cleveland firm also showcased its Precision digital detectors for Axis and Irix. Cleared in August, the detectors have analog-to-digital converters on each photomultiplier tube. They are designed to perform in both PET and SPECT modes. Precision detectors support the company’s gPET coincidence detection protocol, which made its debut at the 1998 SNM conference and is standard on both Axis and Irix gamma cameras.
  • Picker highlighted its work-in-progress nonuniform attenuation correction product, Beacon, which also performs in both SPECT and PET modes and lasts more than seven years without requiring replacement of its barium-133 source. Pending 510(k) clearance, Picker expects to begin shipping the package sometime this year.

Siemens Medical Systems

  • Siemens’ nuclear medicine group debuted E.Cam Cardiac Imaging System, a new dual-head E.Cam for dedicated cardiac SPECT applications and cardiac perfusion studies. The camera has detector heads that can be positioned in both 90 and 76 configurations.
  • The Hoffman Estates, IL, firm presented extensions to the E.Cam gamma camera line, highlighting Profile attenuation correction for SPECT and coincidence detection imaging techniques.
  • The company displayed a number of works-in-progress technologies, including an LSO/sodium iodide PET/SPECT hybrid, which Siemens plans to ship to a beta site in Europe by the end of the year. It also discussed work on a PET/CT system installed at the University of Pittsburgh. The company is also working on developing solid-state digital detectors.

SMV America

  • SMV highlighted DST-XLi, a variable-angle gamma camera with a C-arm-shaped gantry and a 540-mm field of view. DST-XLi can be upgraded with the company’s Transmission Attenuation Correction (TAC) or Volumetric Coincidence Reconstruction (VCR) options. SMV also showed its single-head camera, DSXi, which can be upgraded to a dual-head model.
  • The Twinsburg, OH, company introduced version 5.0 software for its PowerStation computer. The software includes features such as integrated iterative ordered subset expectation maximization (OSEM) reconstruction for all SPECT processing protocols, including gated SPECT studies. SMV planned to release the software in December.
  • The company also highlighted VCR, its coincidence detection imaging package, which is available exclusively as an option on the DST-XLi camera. VCR has been cleared by the FDA, and SMV expected to begin shipping the package in December.

Toshiba America Medical Systems

  • Toshiba emphasized its coincidence-ready E.Cams with 0.625-inch crystals. The company expected to receive FDA clearance for its coincidence imaging software by the end of the year, and plans to begin shipping coincidence detection packages in early spring.
  • Toshiba also presented a new database for CEqual cardiac programs, as well as algorithms such as AutoSpect for cardiac imaging, scatter correction triple energy window (TEW) imaging, and work-in-progress fusion imaging.
  • Transview, the company’s nonuniform attenuation correction program with TEW, was cleared by the FDA in November. Toshiba plans to introduce Transview on its GCA-7200 dual-head camera in March.