New Whole-Body PET Technology Offers Cost-Effective Solution to Improve Image Resolution and Sensitivity

June 24, 2023

Chicago, Illinois (Embargoed until 2:15 p.m. CDT, Saturday, June 24, 2023)—A newly developed technology called “augmented whole-body scanning via magnifying PET” (AWSM-PET) has been shown to enhance the image resolution and system sensitivity of clinical whole-body PET/CT imaging. The cost-effective technology, presented at the 2023 Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Annual Meeting, uses high resolution add-on detectors that simultaneously scan a patient during a standard whole-body PET scan.

“Whole-body PET/CT imaging is broadly used for cancer staging and restaging and to evaluate patients’ response to treatment interventions; however, its diagnostic accuracy is compromised when the lesions are very small or exhibit weak signals,” said Yuan-Chuan Tai, PhD, associate professor of radiology at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. “Our novel AWSM-PET prototype helps to tackle two of the key limitations in whole-body PET imaging: image resolution and overall system sensitivity.”

The AWSM-PET technology utilizes two high-resolution PET detectors that are placed outside of a scanner’s axial imaging field of view as an “outsert” device. The device simultaneously acquires high-resolution PET data as a patient undergoes whole-body PET, and customized firmware and software encode and jointly reconstruct the data. In the study, a cylindrical phantom with lesions ranging from 1.96 mm to 7.6 mm in diameter was imaged to test the AWSM-PET technology.  

Results revealed a clear improvement in image resolution with the AWSM-PET device. The firmware and software were also validated to confirm the functionality of the prototype device.

“The additional high-resolution data from the AWSM-PET device can enhance the overall image resolution and reduce statistical noise,” noted Tai. “The potential improvement in diagnostic accuracy of clinical whole-body PET/CT may benefit cancer patients.”

A pilot human imaging trial is scheduled to start in the summer of 2023 at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. The trial will compare the diagnostic accuracy of the AWSM-PET technology against the standard FDG whole-body PET/CT. 

Figure 1. Rear view of a clinical PET/CT scanner with the AWSM-PET device attached.

Abstract 734. “Development of an AWSM-PET Device for Augmented Whole-body PET Imaging,” Yunlai Chen et. al., Washington University in St. Loius, St. Louis, Missouri and Siemens Molecular Imaging, Knoxville, Tennessee

Link to Session


All 2023 SNMMI Annual Meeting abstracts can be found online.

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