A combined positron emission tomography (PET) and X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanner, EXPLORER produces higher-quality diagnostic PET scans than have ever been possible, scans up to 40 times faster than current PET scans, and can generate a 3-D diagnostic scan of the whole body in as little as 20–30 seconds. The breakthrough medical imager is able to scan with a radiation dose up to 40 times less than a current PET scan, opening new avenues of research and making it feasible to conduct many repeated studies in an individual, or dramatically reduce the dose in pediatric studies, where controlling cumulative radiation dose is particularly important.
The developers—Simon Cherry and Ramsey Badawi of the University of California, Davis—expect the technology will have countless applications, from improving diagnostics to tracking disease progression to researching new drug therapies.
The scanner was developed in partnership with Shanghai-based United Imaging Healthcare (UIH), which built the system based on its latest technology platform and will eventually manufacture the devices for the broader healthcare market.
Ramsey Badawi, chief of Nuclear Medicine at UC Davis Health and vice-chair for research in the Department of Radiology, said of the first images, “The level of detail was astonishing, especially once we got the reconstruction method a bit more optimized.” he said. “We could see features that you just don't see on regular PET scans.”