New MicroPET Scanner Would Be Second in Country

September 10, 1999

The National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health has awarded $400,000 to Wake Forest University School of Medicine for a new type of positron emission tomography (PET) scanner.

The MicroPET scanner will be the second of its type in the nation. The first is at UCLA, the place where the MicroPET was developed

"The MicroPET is a state-of-the-art PET scanner for conducting PET research in small animals," said Robert Mach, Ph.D., associate professor of radiology and of physiology and pharmacology and the principal investigator. "The version we are getting is one that will accommodate both nonhuman primates and rodents.

"The availability of this scanner will be a boost to our PET research program," he said.

Mach said the new scanner will enable the research team to see structures in the brains of nonhuman primates not possible on clinical PET scanners. The reason: the resolution of the MicroPET is 2 millimeters versus 6.5 millimeters with clinical PET scanners, roughly like seeing a toothpick compared to a pencil.

He said the MicroPET also would enable researchers to expand their PET studies into rodent models of disease, such as tumor-bearing rodents.

The scanner is expected to arrive by May, 2000, and will initially be installed in the PET Center. When the fifth floor of the Center for Research on Human Nutrition and Chronic Disease Prevention is finished later next year, the MicroPET will be moved there.

The MicroPET will be a key element of the imaging center for studies of behavioral disorders associated with chronic disease in animal models.


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