Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine (also called molecular imaging) includes positron emission computed tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging. Nuclear imaging is achieved by injecting small amounts of radioactive material (radiopharmaceuticals) into patients before or during their scan. These can use sugars or chemical traits to bond to specific cells. The radioactive material is taken up by cells that consume the sugars. The radiation emitted from inside the body is detected by photon detectors outside the body. Computers take the data to assemble images of the radiation emissions. Nuclear images may appear fuzzy or ghostly rather than the sharper resolution from MRI and CT.  But, it provides metabolic information at a cellular level, showing if there are defects in the function of the heart, areas of very high metabolic activity associated with cancer cells, or areas of inflammation, data not available from other modalities. These noninvasive imaging exams are used to diagnose cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, bone disorders and other disorders. 

Multiple sclerosis ribbon MS

New PET technique spots 'smoldering' changes not visible on MRI in the brains of MS patients

The new technique uncovers hidden inflammation in patients who, despite undergoing extensive treatment for the condition, had worsening symptoms.

April 24, 2024
PET brain scan

Imaging agent that targets deadly brain tumors given FDA's Fast Track designation

Fast Track designations are typically granted to drugs that target an unmet medical need. 

April 17, 2024
scan of prostate

PET/MRI may reduce unnecessary prostate biopsies by 83%

A study out of China found most patients biopsied for prostate lesions did not have clinically significant cancer, calling the clinical ranking systems into question.

April 12, 2024

RLS Radiopharmacies purchases Gallium-68 generators for all its locations

The supply agreement with Eckert & Ziegler will ensure radiopharmaceuticals are available for PET imaging and cancer treatment plans.

April 5, 2024

UC San Diego earns $6.7M NIH grant to develop noninvasive imaging to quantify immune cells in tumors

The TAM-Sense technique is currently in pre-clinical development, but it could be used to develop new treatments.

April 2, 2024
Video interview with Tim Bateman, MD, co-director, cardiovascular radiologic imaging program, Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute and an American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) past-president, explaining the role of SPECT into the future as PET becomes more popular. A new look at PET vs SPECT.

SPECT still has an important role to play in nuclear cardiology

"I see, at least for the next decade, this being a SPECT and PET world, not one or the other," explained Tim Bateman, MD.

March 26, 2024
Radiologist using the Philips Smart Quant 3D Neuro artificial intelligence (AI) software to perform our measurements for white matter, gray matter and other parameters on brain MRI.

PHOTO GALLERY of brain imaging

This is a clinical photo gallery of neuro imaging and what conditions can be can be visualized in brain scans, and various imaging techniques used.

March 18, 2024

Imaging agent detects early endometriosis without surgery, preliminary study finds

The study findings were presented at the Society for Reproductive Investigation annual meeting.

March 18, 2024

Around the web

Two advanced algorithms—one for CAC scores and another for segmenting cardiac chamber volumes—outperformed radiologists when assessing low-dose chest CT scans. 

"Gen AI can help tackle repetitive tasks and provide insights into massive datasets, saving valuable time," Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud, said Tuesday. 

SCAI and four other major healthcare organizations signed a joint letter in support of intravascular ultrasound. 

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