MSU brings better cancer diagnosis and treatment to Michigan | MSUToday

Identify cancer earlier and faster

In 2020, about 1.8 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. In Michigan, that number was estimated at nearly 62,000.

Using advanced PET/CT scanner technology, doctors can now see exactly where cancer is located in the body by combining two already established methods. Positron emission tomography, or PET, uses a radioactive tracer that is injected into the body to identify cancer. Once the cancer is found, the tracer binds to the cancerous cells and emits a signal detected by the PET scanner. The second method is computerized tomography, or CT imaging technology, which reveals a detailed picture of any place where cancer is present, whether on the lungs or inside a bone, for example. .

Mark DeLano, professor and chair of radiology at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

“We call it hybrid technology when you mix two different types of imaging and you get new insights,” says Mark DeLano, professor and chair of the department of radiology at MSU College of Human Medicine, who uses this technology to guide the treatment of cancer patients. “A PET scan identifies tumor markers inside your body, such as specific proteins on cancer cells or how much energy the tumor uses, and the scan takes a closer look at your structure, such as bones, organs and Blood vessels.”

This makes whole body PET/CT scanner technology the ideal tool for diagnosing and guiding cancer treatment. Until now, this technology was only used in the United States for research purposes.

The accuracy and speed of the technology is a major benefit for patients. A typical head-to-toe PET scan takes about 40 minutes. For patients who are already anxious or uncomfortable, it can seem like an eternity, and staying still for that long is even harder for children or people with claustrophobia or other conditions. When a patient moves during the scan, it significantly reduces both the accuracy of the stitching process used to create a consistent image and the quality of the final image. This can have a profound impact on the ability to detect small tumors. The new scanner eliminates both problems.


Patient undergoing whole body PET/CT. A: Maximum intensity projection, which is a 3D reconstructed image from PET/CT imaging. B: PET image C: CT image D: PET/CT fusion. Image courtesy of BAMF Health

“With this state-of-the-art total body PET/CT scanner, we can complete the full body scan within one minute and scan 194 centimeters (76 inches) at a time,” says Anthony Chang, Founder and CEO of BAMF Health. . “That means it takes a fortieth of the time.”

The entire patient is imaged in a single scan, which improves the quality of the final image and the detection of small tumors and lesions. By detecting cancer earlier, researchers can initiate more aggressive treatment options sooner and be more confident in reducing treatment intensity if there is no evidence of generalized disease.

“Conventional scanners can detect signs of cancer as small as one centimeter (0.39 inches), but this new scanner can detect signs of cancer smaller than two millimeters (less than a tenth of an inch)” , says Chang.

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