News Release: Emory Healthcare , Winship Cancer Institute

Jun. 3,  2010

New PET/CT Scanner Offers Earlier Tumor Detection and Faster Scans for Cancer Patients

News Article ImageGE Discovery PET/CT 600

A new combined imaging system that promises earlier disease detection and faster and more comfortable scans is now being used exclusively for cancer patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown.

The new device fuses PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) images together, allowing physicians to see the exact location of the disease, its size, nature and extent of the disease. Prior to this equipment, patients had to have two separate scans performed, a PET and a CT scan on two different scanners, making it difficult for physicians to compare and combine images.

"This new imaging system can find smaller tumors better and quicker, allowing us to make a more precise diagnosis, while keeping the patient comfortable," says Jaime Montilla-Soler, MD, assistant professor of radiology, Emory University School of Medicine and director of PET/CT Services for Emory Healthcare. "More accurate images from the scan help us to make individualized treatment plans for the patient, which leads to better outcomes."

The combined images also make it easier to monitor responses to therapy and treatment over time.

The new equipment, the GE Discovery PET/CT 600, has the highest image sensitivity available, enabling the use of potentially lower radiation doses. It also features technology such as MotionMatch and Respiratory Gating, which clarifies details in areas subject to motion, such as the lungs.

The scanner incorporates patient friendly design features, as well, which include a comfortable patient bed for patients up to 500 pounds and a large entry hole (or bore) to maximize positioning and limit the effects of claustrophobia.

Housed in the Medical Office Tower at Emory University Hospital Midtown, the new PET/CT scanner will be used for patients with various types of cancer, including: breast, lung, head and neck, esophageal, melanoma, colorectal, female cervix and lymphoma, to name a few.

"This dedicated scanner for cancer patients will assist us in better caring for our patient before, during and after their treatment plans," says Montilla-Soler.

A second, similar PET/CT scanner is dedicated for cardiac patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown. Combined PET/CT scanners can also be found at Emory University Hospital and the Emory Clinic.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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