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Toshiba targets MR body diffusion

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Body diffusion is the next frontier for Toshiba MR, according to John Zimmer, vice president of marketing for Toshiba America Medical Systems. The biggest issue is motion-related artifact, he said, but the company is coming up with techniques and software changes to address the problem.

Body diffusion is the next frontier for Toshiba MR, according to John Zimmer, vice president of marketing for Toshiba America Medical Systems. The biggest issue is motion-related artifact, he said, but the company is coming up with techniques and software changes to address the problem.

"The long-term goal is to give PET/CT a run for its money," Zimmer said.

An MR add-on that allows body diffusion imaging will cost about $50,000. A PET/CT scanner can cost millions.

TAMS already has software that supports diffusion-weighted MR of the body, as do Siemens and Philips. The packages are available commercially and clinical work has produced encouraging results. Abdominal studies directed at identifying cancer deliver the best results if the acquisition can be performed in a breath-hold, Zimmer said. After that, motion artifact degrades the image.

The company is focusing in the near term on techniques that increase signal-to-noise and thereby reduce acquisition times. This could reduce or eliminate image distortion due to respiration. The bigger issue, however, is finding clinical test sites to validate MR body diffusion, Zimmer said. PET/CT will serve as the benchmark, he said.

"We will need the imaging community to spend the time to do the cross validation and testing," he said.

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