– Using an integrated PET/MR camera we can make more efficient and faster diagnoses. It also helps us select the right therapy and quickly assess the effects of the treatment, says Håkan Ahlström at Uppsala University Hospital.
Håkan Ahlström, Chief Physician and Professor of Radiology, gives examples of the advantages of the new PET/MR camera that is introduced today at Uppsala University Hospital. The new camera collects data from both imaging systems simultaneously. This helps diagnosis and gives more information about the effect of different treatments, for example for cancer. The patient can also be fully examined at a single date, which saves time and provides more reliable assessment data.
– You might think that you can just combine the information provided by each technique, but it’s not that easy, says Håkan Ahlström, referring to the difficulties of exactly matching different types of images.
The new camera avoids these problems. Another problem which will hopefully be solved is how to utilise all the information in each image element and present it in a way that can be assessed.
Same camera as in Umeå
Today the equipment is being introduced in Uppsala, but it has already been used to examine a number of patients.
– We started using the equipment last week and as such we were the first Hospital in the country to use an integrated PET/MR camera. This is important, Håkan Ahlström says with a laugh.
In early October the Cancer centre in Umeå introduced an identical camera, and were thereby first in having their actual ceremony. The PET/MR camera in Uppsala belongs to the University Hospital and Uppsala University, and is administered by the Department of Radiology. It will in other words also be used in more medical fields than oncology.
A step towards personalised medicine
– We have started talking with Umeå about the possibility of conducting joint research projects, in order to include more patients, says Håkan Ahlström. One interesting field is personalised medicine.
– Today there is a lot of talk about personalised medicine –about how each patient represents a unique illness and should receive personalised therapy. To implement this we need all the information that the new camera can provide, he says.
– This applies to all kinds of illnesses, but oncology is probably the main field. MR allows us to separate diseased tissue from normal tissue and fraction dosages into the actual tumour. Simply put, we can see exactly where to increase the dosage to kill the tumour cells.
With better precision the radiation dosages can be increased while the surrounding tissue is spared.
– We can use smaller radiation doses than before when we can identify exactly what is pathologic tissue.
Better data for proton therapy
The University Hospital is in close proximity to new proton therapy clinic, Skandionkliniken. Proton therapy allows for more precise and powerful radiation.
– We have to make use of this. Radiotherapy examinations are improved through the PET/MR camera. We can make better examinations, quite simply.