Device offers unprecedented access to internal organs

22 Nov 2010

A new medical technology is allowing doctors to simultaneously view the position of internal organs, how they work, as well as their metabolism, in a single image.

The technology could help doctors make more accurate diagnoses in terms of cancer treatments as it could help doctors pinpoint tumours, while detecting its type and activity.

The device, Biograph mMR, combines two separate technologies – magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) – which traditionally have not been able to work together.

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MRI and PET, which are well-established imaging techniques in medicine, are currently used to answer important clinical questions. By combining both technologies, the hope is that they can diagnose many diseases.

According to physics applied in these imaging techniques, the technologies should conflict with one another and make simultaneous imaging impossible, but the Biograph mMR overcomes this physical hurdle.

“We’ve initiated clinical use testing of Biograph mMR in an effort to diagnose diseases at a very early stage; to see the progression of disease and to use that information to develop a therapy plan precisely focused on the respective patient.

“Furthermore, we plan to use the system for cancer followup in the long run, by reducing radiation exposure by the use of the system,” said Prof Dr Markus Schwaiger, director of the department for nuclear medicine at the university hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar (KRDI) of the Munich Technical University (MUT), Germany.

The Biograph mMR, developed by Siemens Healthcare, has begun clinical use testing in the department of nuclear medicine at the university hospital KRDI of MUT and it is hoped that the new technology will offer new perspectives for the diagnosis of diseases like cancer and dementia.