July 23, 2001
Hospital gets new imaging device
Emory Hospital has been selected as one of three sites in the United
States to receive a new combination scanner to diagnose cancera
technology being called a medical imaging breakthrough.
Created by GE Medical Systems, the machine is described as the first
proven technology that can help doctors answer critical heath questions
with just one exam. By fusing positron emission tomography (PET) and computerized
tomography (CT) information, the scanner will help physicians pinpoint
and localize cancerous tumors faster and more accurately than ever before.
Emory was chosen as one of the sites to receive this machine because
of its already strong PET Center and because of our growing cancer research
at the Winship Cancer Institute, said William Casarella, professor
and chair in the School of Medicines radiology department. Those
two factors make Emory a perfect place for this new imaging device.
The integrated PET-CT scanner combines the best of both imaging modalities
in one system. A CT shows the anatomical location of the tumor; it relies
on changes in anatomy that occur as tumors grow larger. PET sees small
metabolic changes and can help doctors identify tiny lesions or cancerous
cells before there are any accompanying changes in the anatomy; however,
it cannot provide the precise location of the tumor. With this combined
technology, doctors now can detect cancer in its earliest form, pinpoint
the exact location and determine the best way to remove the tumor and
treat the affected area.
Besides its abilities to identify cancer more quickly, Casarella
said, this new technology will reduce invasive procedures in patients
such as biopsies and unnecessary surgeries. It also will reduce examination
and imaging time.
The PET-CT scanner has the potential to provide increased diagnostic
confidence for patients suspected of having cancer and for those who already
have been diagnosed. It should improve peace of mind for patients and
their families, knowing that this scanner provides comprehensive and accurate
information regarding detection and staging, Casarella said.
The scanner is expected to arrive at Emory in several months, pending a certificate of need approval by the state of Georgia.