Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Davis, CA, United States (4E) – Developed by researchers at the University of California Davis, the world’s first total-body scanner can rapidly produce 3D images of the entire human body in as little as 20 seconds.
This machine given the name “EXPLORER” generated its first 3D scans last week. EXPLORER is the brainchild of UC Davis scientists Simon Cherry and Ramsey Badawi (chief of Nuclear Medicine at UC Davis Health). Badawi and Cherry said they first conceptualized their total-body scanner 13 years ago.
They expect EXPLORER to have countless applications, from improving diagnostics to tracking disease progression to researching new drug therapies.
It can produce an image of an entire body in just 20 to 30 seconds. EXPLORER is the world’s first medical imaging scanner that can capture a 3D picture of the whole human body at once.
It can generate clearer and more accurate images no other imaging tool can achieve. EXPLORER scans a whole body some 40 times faster than PET scans now in use. It can produce a diagnostic image in as little as 20 to 30 seconds. Equally important, it uses a radiation dose up to 40 times less than the standard dose used in PET scans. This means a safer imaging technology with less radiation risk for patients.
EXPLORER is a combined positron emission tomography (PET) and x-ray computed tomography (CT) scanner that can image the entire body at the same time. It can produce an image in as little as one second because it captures radiation far more efficiently than other scanners.
Over time, EXPLORER will produce movies that can track specially tagged drugs as they move throughout the entire body.
The new device should revolutionize medical imaging globally and improve diagnosis and treatment of diseases since it creates far greater detail of different components of human body. The new imaging scanner will allow doctors for the first time to evaluate what is happening in all the organs and tissues of the body simultaneously. It can also measure blood flow or how the body uses glucose everywhere in the body.
The level of detail is astonishing, especially once they got the reconstruction method a bit more optimized, said Badawi. Using EXPLORER, doctors might see features you just don’t see on regular PET scans.
More surprisingly, the dynamic sequence showing the radiotracer moving around the body in three dimensions over time “was, frankly, mind-blowing.” There is no other device that can obtain data like this in humans, so this is truly novel, according to Badawi.
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