United Imaging has installed the first of its uEXPLORER Total-Body PET/CT System in the U.S. at the University of California, Davis, with clinicians there already using it for scanning.
The first of these scans was performed on 49-year-old Magdalena Gonzalez, a mother of seven, to better stage her lymphoma, with the total-body capability of the scanner enabling it to visualize cancer that has spread beyond a single tumor site in a single scan.
"Conventional whole-body imaging covers just a small portion of the entire length of the patient at a time and therefore views just a small fraction of organs at any one moment," Jeffrey M. Bundy, chief executive officer at UIH Solutions, told HCB News. "With total-body scanning (as offered by uEXPLORER), one scan can capture detailed molecular and biological information in seconds without moving patients multiple times. This results in a 4D capture, like a 'dynamic holograph' of what's happening in the entire body, which can shed light on how the body works as a complete system, both in health and in disease."
Created in a joint effort between United Imaging Healthcare and the EXPLORER Consortium run by Simon Cherry and Ramsey Badawi at UC Davis, the uEXPLORER Total-Body PET/CT is the first scanner in the world that can produce a 3D image of the human body at one time. The combination of CT and PET capabilities enables users to study the anatomy and the functioning relationship between tissues and organs within the body, with the scanner imaging a whole patient within 15 to 30 seconds, thereby saving much time, compared to conventional 10-20 minute PET scans, as well as reducing the chance of blurriness in images by requiring patients to only hold one breath during procedures.
The scanner is part of United Imaging's all-digital PET/CT portfolio, and enables fast and continuous tracking of tracer distribution in blood, organs and tissues throughout the body. This is due to the fact that it carries 40 times greater sensitivity than current clinical PET/CT scanners, a quality that is expected to create longer lifespans for radiotracers and reduce the amount of dose needed.
It also opens up new avenues for research, offers support for pharmacokinetic studies and radiation dose evaluation, and enables users to scan with lower dose protocols.
"Other applications may include pediatric patients (potentially using less or no sedation), disabled patients who cannot lie down for an extended period of time and submit themselves to movement through multiple bed positions (as is required with traditional whole-body imaging), and facilities that are working toward new tracers for specific diseases," said Bundy. "Total-body imaging allows a look at the entire body to examine how other organs may be affected by a specific disease, or disease progression throughout the entire body."
uEXPLORER Total-Body PET/CT is FDA cleared and made its debut on the U.S. market at the 2018 Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.
United Imaging is currently in advanced discussions with other major healthcare research and clinical facilities for installation in the U.S.