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New Imaging Technology Shows Promise for Several Kinds of Cancer

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New Imaging Technology Shows Promise for Several Kinds of Cancer

Researchers from the University Hospitals Case Medical Center have published findings that showcase a new form of imaging PET/MRI that looks to be promising for several types of cancer.

In an article titled "PET/MRI: Applications in Clinical Imaging," published in the September issue of Current Radiology Reports, the authors delineate their original clinical experience in diagnosing and staging cancer patients with this new technology.

In a collaborative effort with researchers from Philips Healthcare, the team discovered that PET/MRI offered added value in the diagnosis, staging, and treatment planning of colorectal cancers, cervical, uterine, ovarian and pancreatic cancers; as well as in the diagnostic management of pediatric and young adult patients. The researchers evaluated 145 cancer patients with a double-scanning practice of PET/CT followed by a PET/MRI performed on the Philips Ingenuity TF PET/MRI system.

"Our preliminary experience with this new diagnostic imaging technology proves that it is promising for oncologic applications. We found the PET/MRI enhanced our ability to detect malignant areas and more accurately and confidently diagnose several types of cancers, potentially providing physicians with the ability to improve treatment planning and better monitoring of the disease,” said study lead author and radiologist at UH Case Medical Center and Visiting Associate Professor of Radiology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Karin Herrmann, MD.

The PET/MRI is a new crossbreed imaging system which brings together the corresponding abilities of MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning to better visualize both functional and anatomical information and to apply this information in a joint digital image. The UH Case Medical Center Seidman Cancer Center is the first cancer hospital in the world to initiate and introduce this technology in a strictly clinical setting.

In a new class of diagnostic imaging systems, the PET/MRI joins the highest anatomic detail as well as bio-chemical and functional information supplied by MRI with the metabolic, molecular, and physiologic information from PET. The technology blends the images to more precisely mark cancer locations and improve the accuracy of disease staging.

For the study, the researchers' detailed account delineates various aspects of the clinical utility of PET/MRI in more accurate detection of cancer and cancer metastasis, use in decision-making, comparisons of detection accuracy across cancers and distinction of benign from malignant lesions in clinical settings.

The authors also highlight the options of reduction in overall radiation imaging exposure with PET/MRI as opposed to other imaging technologies. Given the similar performance of PET/MR compared to PET/ CT in some diseases, there is a probability to decrease radiation exposure in replacing the CT component in PET/CT with MRI. This may particularly be a concern in pediatric and young adult patients who need frequent follow up imaging.

"This hybrid scanner has the potential to improve patient care by increasing understanding of the causes, effects, and development of disease processes to better diagnose cancer and various other diseases. We are very excited to be among the first to be able to help establish guidelines of how best to use this technology to guide physicians on the value of the PET/MRI in diagnosing and staging various forms of cancer. Our initial experience has shown that it may be a very important cancer-fighting tool,” said study author and nuclear radiologist at UH Case Medical Center and Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Norbert Avril, MD.

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