Vendors boost appeal of PET/CT by integrating 16-slice capability

December 25, 2002

Siemens and CTI enter market firstSiemens Medical Solutions and CTI Molecular Imaging became the first vendors to offer customers hybrid PET systems that boast a 16-slice CT capability, showing off the Siemens biograph Sensation 16

Siemens and CTI enter market first

Siemens Medical Solutions and CTI Molecular Imaging became the first vendors to offer customers hybrid PET systems that boast a 16-slice CT capability, showing off the Siemens biograph Sensation 16 and CTI Reveal XVI on the exhibit floor of the RSNA meeting.

That the systems were available almost simultaneously is not surprising, given the joint venture between Siemens and CTI--dubbed CPS for CTI PET Systems, which manufactures the positron technology for both hybrid systems. At least one other vendor may not be far behind, however. GE Medical Systems showed its work-in-progress Discovery LS 16, which GE executives hope will clear the FDA in early 2003.

The three systems underscore the strong market for PET/CT products, despite their stratospheric prices. The biograph sells for about $2.7 million and Reveal for about $2.6 million. The success of these hybrids may be due in part to a broadening interest in PET and general acceptance of the high costs associated with these scanners, said Randy Weatherhead, vice president of sales and marketing for Siemens nuclear medicine and PET.

"The whole PET market has boomed over the last year," he said. "This year, the market was probably up 40% in the U.S."

The Siemens and CTI hybrid products both use lutetium oxyorthosilicate (LSO) technology in their PET detectors and incorporate the Siemens Somatom Sensation 16 CT scanner. The work-in-progress GE product includes the company's LightSpeed 16 technology. Neither Siemens nor CTI offered sales projections.

"Because the Siemens system has very advanced CT technology, it will be attractive to the academic centers as well as the large entrepreneurial practices," Weatherhead said. "We see it selling to the top cardiology centers, some of the top neuro centers, and to those who are already doing PET and want to move up to PET/CT."

Ken Manning, director of marketing for CTI, sees similar opportunities for the Reveal XVI. He explained the appeal of the company's newest scanner, noting that the LSO crystal optimizes the count rate, while the CT provides very accurate data for rapid attenuation correction.

The Siemens and CTI products can complete whole-body oncology scans in about 15 minutes--half the time usually required by older PET/CTs. In fact, some scans performed at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center have been completed in only seven minutes using an LSO-equipped PET system, Manning said.

Inclusion of 16-slice technology expands the number and type of applications available to customers. These include CT angiography, fly-through colonography, and calcium scoring, as well as cardiac imaging.

"The ability of the 16-slice to literally image the entire heart within one cycle really opens the door for many more applications than we've ever had before in radiology," he said.