Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Medicine Physics

Penn has a long history of development of nuclear-medicine instrumentation in both SPECT and PET dating back to the pioneering work of David Kuhl, MD, in the 1970s. The Nuclear Medicine Physics and Instrumentation Research Group strives to continue this tradition in an environment that encourages basic scientists and clinicians to collaborate in both the design and development of new instruments as well as the translation of these instruments for new applications in both clinical and pre-clinical (animal) imaging situations.

The groupís research in PET instrumentation development spans basic detector design and modeling to system design and image evaluation. Most recently, faculty have emphasized development of time-of-flight technology, which increases the signal-to-noise of the reconstructed images for whole-body studies. Faculty also conduct research on SPECT imaging with an emphasis on applications to small animal and brain imaging. The Nuclear Medicine Physics and Instrumentation Research Group also oversees the operation of the cyclotron and imaging probe synthesis facility.

At right, the images show comparison of time-of-flight (TOF) reconstruction with non-TOF reconstruction. A representative transverse slice in the abdomen is shown, along with corresponding low-dose CT image. TOF is particularly beneficial for heavy patients, as demonstrated in this study that shows improved lesion detectability with TOF. This patient with colon cancer is 119 kg and was scanned using 18F-FDG with a PET/CT scanner that utilizes technology developed at Penn.