Applying time-of-flight technology to PET scans reduces radiation exposure

November 6, 2015

Researchers in Manchester have applied a new technology to PET scans that reduces the amount of radiation exposure by up to 30 percent for patients and medical staff.

For their study, published recently in the journal Nuclear Medicine Communications, the scientists from Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester used a technology called time-of-flight (TOF) when performing the scans on cancer patients.

TOF reduces image noise by measuring the difference in arrival time between the two gamma rays produced when positron particles emitted by the radiotracer interact inside the body. This allows the person reading the scan to more accurately locate the origin of gamma rays — and subsequently the tumors — within 8 centimeters, explained Ian Armstrong a nuclear physicist at Central Manchester University Hospitals, who led the study.

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