Philips led HYPERImage project advances research on hybrid PET/MR scanner

Orlando, USA – As leader of the European Union funded HYPERImage research project, Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI) today announced that the project has achieved a major milestone in its ambitious plan to create a new medical imaging technique called hybrid PET/MR. This new technique is based on the simultaneous acquisition of time-of-flight Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance (MR) images.

The project involves eight partners from six European countries and has a total budget of around EUR 7 million. The ultimate goals of the project are to advance the accuracy of diagnostic imaging in cardiology and oncology and open up new fields in therapy planning, guidance and response monitoring.

A hybrid PET/MR scanner could simultaneously deliver the anatomical and functional information achievable using state-of-the-art MR scanners (e.g. soft tissue contrast and physiological processes in blood vessels) and the molecular imaging information provided by PET. As a result, it would combine the best of both worlds, which could ultimately help to pinpoint and characterize disease sites within the body more accurately than is currently possible.

source: Philips Medical


Siemens Powerful Biograph mCT PET•CT System Offers Advanced Tumor Detection and Workflow Solutions

Barcelona, Spain, October 13, 2009 – Siemens Healthcare reported today at the annual meeting of the European Association of Nuclear medicine (EANM) in Barcelona, Spain, that leading hospitals in England, France, Germany and Monaco have shown strong interest and adoption of the Biograph mCT, the worlds first molecular CT, to fuel advanced diagnostic capabilities and to drive greater workflow efficiencies.

The Biograph mCT combines the abilities of a high-resolution Positron Emission Tomography (PET) system with those of a premium diagnostic Computed Tomography (CT) system. This unique combination of technologies results in improved image quality reduced scan times and increased patient comfort.

First introduced at EANM in 2008, the Biograph mCT has achieved widespread global adoption due to its game-changing features and benefits. A uniform 2mm image resolution throughout the entire field of view can significantly improve image quality and offer clinicians increased confidence in diagnosis. The ability for five-minute, whole-body PET scanning, combined with a large bore and short tunnel, offers a more flexible solution for demanding workflows, as well as a more comfortable environment for the patient.

The Biograph mCT is unique in that it can serve as a PET•CT system for molecular imaging, and at the same time, it is powerful enough to serve as a dedicated CT. Among the first to work with the new system is Dr. Andreas Bockisch, director of the Clinic for Nuclear Medicine, University Clinic in Essen, Germany, and president of the German Society for Nuclear Medicine.

source: Siemens Medical


The Montreal Children’s Hospital unveils cutting edge intraoperative MRI

Montreal – October 26, 2009: On any ordinary day, six year old Emilie Gagnon gets up and heads off to grade one at her elementary school in Beauce. But October 19 was no ordinary day. Instead of taking the bus to school Emilie was wheeled in to a new operating room at The Montreal Children’s Hospital where she underwent brain surgery.

Emilie suffers from epilepsy caused by a tumour located on her occipital lobe, the rear most portion of the brain which houses the visual cortex, the part of the brain that interprets what our eyes see. Emilie’s tumour was the size of a large egg. The roots of the tumour penetrated deep into her brain. These roots bear a striking resemblance to grey matter making it difficult for surgeons to detect the direction they are growing and where they end.

Emilie was the first child to undergo brain surgery in The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC’s new Pediatric Interventional Brain Suite, home to the first intraoperative magnetic resonance (MRI) in a Canadian pediatric hospital.

"We're incredibly pleased to be the first pediatric hospital in the country to able to offer our patients the benefit of this remarkable new technology," says Dr. Harvey Guyda, Associate Executive Director of The Montreal Children's Hospital. "Equipment like this is helping us transform how we care for our patients-- a transformation that will take another major step forward when shovels hit the ground later this year for the new Montreal Children's Hospital at the Glen Campus."

This new technology gives the three neurosurgeons at The Montreal Children’s Hospital unprecedented views of the brain before and during surgery thus improving the accuracy of procedures.

“The new intraoperative MRI gives us a tremendous advantage as we navigate through the brain to remove tumours,” says Dr. Jean-Pierre Farmer, Chief-of-surgery and a member of the neurosurgery team.

source: Montreal Childrens Hospital


GE Healthcare to Purchase Assets of ONI Medical Systems, Inc., Provider of World’s Only High-Field Dedicated Extremity MRI Scanners

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GE Healthcare, the US$ 17 billion healthcare business of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase certain assets of ONI Medical Systems, Inc., a privately held company headquartered in Wilmington, Massachusetts, USA. In line with GE’s healthymagination vision, ONI’s innovative products will expand GE Healthcare’s Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) capabilities, offering healthcare professionals a broader range of MRI products to enable more cost-effective imaging procedures in a variety of patient care settings. Financial terms were not disclosed.

ONI Medical Systems is a provider of high performance, low-cost, dedicated purpose MRI systems. This includes the MSK ExtremeTM 1.0T and the MSK ExtremeTM 1.5T, the world’s only compact designed, high-field, truly open configuration extremity MRI systems available in the medical marketplace. ONI’s scanners are designed specifically for imaging of the extremities - only the joint being imaged is inside of the scanner. ONI’s products also have a small footprint for convenient siting in limited spaces and premium image quality, allowing clinicians’ the same diagnostic confidence for extremity imaging at a lower cost when compared to a whole body MRI unit.

“One of the cornerstones of GE’s healthymagination vision is to develop and invest in technologies that increase quality, improve access and decrease costs. In line with this vision, the addition of ONI’s products enhances our Magnetic Resonance business. It gives us an opportunity to explore technologies that will increase patient access for claustrophobic patients, products with a smaller footprint and premium image quality, and specialty systems that provide advanced, cost-effective MR patient imaging,” said Jim Davis, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare’s global MR business.

Both MSK ExtremeTM 1.0T and MSK ExtremeTM 1.5T scanners are applicable to healthcare providers in hospitals, imaging centers and orthopedic/sports medicine practices where there is a need for an anatomy-specific MRI system that provides a quiet, comfortable, non-claustrophobic experience for patients. The current installed base of these two products is more than 175 units worldwide, including some of the top academic hospitals in the world.

source: GE News


Lung Scintigraphy More Reliable Than CTA in Excluding Pulmonary Embolism in Pregnant Patients

A medical imaging procedure known as lung scintigraphy may be more reliable than pulmonary CT angiography (CTA) for identifying or excluding pulmonary embolism (PE) in pregnant patients, according to a study published in the November issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

PE, a blood clot lodged in an artery supplying the lungs, is the leading cause of maternal death in pregnancy. CTA is the imaging modality of choice for the diagnosis of PE, however lung scintigraphy, a form of radionuclide imaging that produces two-dimensional images, has shown to produce better diagnostic quality images more often than CTA in pregnant patients.

“Our study analyzed 28 CTA studies and 25 lung scintigraphy studies performed on a group of 50 patients,” said Carole A. Ridge, M.D., lead author of the study. “The results showed that lung scintigraphy is more reliable than CTA for the diagnosis of PE. Only one out of 25 lung scintigraphic studies was inadequate for diagnosis; compared to ten out of 28 CTA examinations that were found to be inadequate for diagnosis,” she said. Examinations were considered inadequate when poor image quality prohibited a diagnosis.

source: ARRS


Repligen Announces Completion of Patient Treatment in Phase 3 Clinical Trial of RG1068 in MRI Imaging of the Pancreas

WALTHAM, MA - October 19, 2009 - Repligen Corporation (NASDAQ: RGEN) reported today that it has completed patient treatment in its Phase 3 clinical trial of RG1068, synthetic human secretin, in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pancreas. The study is designed to assess the sensitivity and specificity of RG1068 in conjunction with MRI for the detection of pancreatic duct abnormalities compared to MRI alone. Additional assessments include safety, physician confidence in the identification of structural abnormalities, the number of pancreatic duct segments visualized and the improvement in the quality of the MRI images. The study enrolled 258 patients at 23 clinical sites within the U.S. and Canada. Detailed visual assessment of the pancreatic ducts is important in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as acute and chronic pancreatitis.

Structural abnormalities of the pancreatic ducts were assessed by RG1068 used in conjunction with MRI and independently by endoscopy, a commonly used invasive procedure. There were no serious adverse events (SAEs) associated with the RG1068/MRI procedure compared to 68 patients with an SAE associated with endoscopy. The most commonly reported SAE following endoscopy was acute pancreatitis requiring hospitalization.

source: Repligen Corporation


CT Scans Show Patients With Severe Cases of H1N1 Are at Risk for Developing Acute Pulmonary Emboli

Researchers utilizing computed tomography (CT) scans have found that patients with severe cases of the H1N1 virus are at risk for developing severe complications, including pulmonary emboli (PE), according to a study to be published online Oct. 14, 2009, in the American Journal of Roentgenology. The study will be published in the December issue of the AJR.

A pulmonary embolism occurs when one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked. The condition can be life-threatening. However, if treated aggressively, anti-coagulants (blood thinners) can reduce the risk of death.

The study, performed at the University of Michigan Health Service, included 66 patients diagnosed with the H1N1 flu. Two study groups were formed. Group one consisted of 14 patients who were severely ill and required Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission. Group two consisted of 52 patients who were not severely ill and did not require ICU admission.

All 66 patients underwent chest X-rays for the detection of H1N1 abnormalities. Ten patients from the ICU group and five patients from the largely outpatient group, underwent CT scans. “Pulmonary Emboli were seen on CT in five of 14 ICU patients,” said Prachi P. Agarwal, M.D., lead author of the study.

“Our study suggests that patients who are severely ill with H1N1 are also at risk for developing PE, which should be carefully sought for on contrast-enhanced CT scans,” she said.

source: ARRS

MRI Abundance May Lead To Excess In Back Surgeries, Study Shows

ScienceDaily (Oct. 16, 2009) — Patients reporting new low-back pain are more likely to undergo surgery if treated in an area with a higher-than-average concentration of magnetic resonance imaging machines, according to research from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

This may be bad news for patients, since previous studies have found that increased surgery rates don't improve patient outcomes. "The worry is that many people will not benefit from the surgery, so heading in this direction is concerning," said senior author Laurence Baker, PhD, professor of health research and policy.

In their new study, to be published online Oct. 14 in Health Affairs, Baker and first author Jacqueline Baras correlate areas with high numbers of MRI machines to an increased likelihood that MRIs will be performed on new low-back pain patients. In turn, high local MRI availability correlates with increased rates of low-back surgery.

"It is important that policymakers recognize that infrastructure matters, and that the number of MRI machines in any particular area may affect the volume and quality of health care that patients receive," said Baras, a Stanford medical student with a master's degree in health services research.

source: Science Daily (release)


Specter of MRI Disease Haunts GE

Jeff Gerth,

In May 2006, medical regulators in Denmark issued a warning that signaled trouble for General Electric. Danish researchers noted that, over a four-year period, 25 patients in Denmark and Austria had suffered a rare and crippling disease after undergoing an MRI, the scanning procedure used to diagnose everything from brain tumors to blown knees. The patients had been injected with a GE dye that makes images more distinct. They all had weak kidneys before receiving the dye.

The GE product, Omniscan [1], has since been linked to other cases of the disease, which appears to affect only MRI patients who have kidney problems. Similar drugs made by Bayer and others have also been tied to the sometimes fatal ailment, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis [2] (NSF).

Some regulators and researchers in the U.S. and Europe have found that a disproportionate number of NSF cases are associated with GE’s Omniscan [3]. That threatens to create a costly liability mess for the company’s growing $17 billion health-care division, which GE promotes heavily with its "Healthymagination [4]" ad campaign. The company’s diagnostic products generate about $1.8 billion in sales. GE doesn’t provide financial figures on Omniscan.

source and complete article: ProPublica.org


Hyper-SAGE Boosts Remote MRI Sensitivity

ScienceDaily (Oct. 9, 2009) — A new technique in Magnetic Resonance Imaging dubbed "Hyper-SAGE" has the potential to detect ultra low concentrations of clincal targets, such as lung and other cancers. Development of Hyper-SAGE was led by one of the world's foremost authorities on MRI technology, Alexander Pines, a chemist who holds joint appointments with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley.

The key to this technique is xenon gas that has been zapped with laser light to "hyperpolarize" the spins of its atomic nuclei so that most are pointing in the same direction.

"By detecting the MRI signal of dissolved hyperpolarized xenon after the xenon has been extracted back into the gas phase, we can boost the signal's strength up to 10,000 times," Pines says. "It is absolutely amazing because we're looking at pure gas and can reconstruct the whole image of our target. With this degree of sensitivity, Hyper-SAGE becomes a highly promising tool for in vivo diagnostics and molecular imaging."

MRI is a painless and radiation-free means of obtaining high quality three-dimensional tomographical images of internal tissue and organs. It is especially valuable for optically opaque samples, such as blood. However, the application of MRI to biomedical samples has been limited by sensitivity issues. For the past three decades, Pines has led an on-going effort to find ways of enhancing the sensitivity of MRI and its sister technology, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Hyper-SAGE, the latest development, represents a significant new advance for both technologies, according to Xin Zhou, a member of Pines' research group.

source: Science Daily (release)


Diagnosis Of Lung Cancer Can Be Expedited By Combination Of PET/CT Tests In A Fast-Track Setting

Research published in the October 2009 issue of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology has found an effective combination of positron emission tomography (PET)/computed tomography (CT) (PET/CT) tests to diagnose lung cancer in a "fast-tracked" outpatient setting. This novel approach to the diagnosis of lung cancer demonstrated a high level of sensitivity (97%) and accuracy (82%). The fast track model tests patients for lung cancer over the course of one day and could expedite identification and treatment of the disease.

Using the 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) imaging technique,with a PET/CT scanner, researchers from The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam evaluated 114 patients experiencing pulmonary symptoms and/or abnormal chest x-rays.

source: Medical News Today


Molecular Imaging Holds Promise For Early Intervention In Common Uterine Cancer

ScienceDaily (Oct. 1, 2009) — A promising new molecular imaging technique may provide physicians and patients with a noninvasive way to learn more information about a type of cancer of the uterus lining called "endometrial carcinoma"—one of the most common malignant female tumors. This research was presented in a study published in the October issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

"Endometrial carcinoma is one of the most common female malignant tumors," says Hidehiko Okazawa, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the division of medical imaging at the biomedical imaging research center at the University of Fukui in Japan and one of the lead researchers of the study. "The method of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging we used in the study is noninvasive, and it has tremendous potential to save women with endometrial carcinoma from undergoing unnecessary operations and biopsies that could sabotage their reproductive potential."

If the disease is caught early enough, the five-year survival rate is higher than 90% for patients with endometrial carcinoma. PET imaging may provide physicians with a tool that lets them recognize the extent of the disease before it reaches advanced stages.

source: Science Daily (release)