The new instrument is installed in The Division of Medical Physics in Radiology, led by Prof. Mark Ladd, within DKFZ to open up new frontiers in imaging to further research into cancers. The combined PET/MRI system was developed by Bruker to be compatible with the needs of DKFZ in providing functional information on tumor development. The new installation has been fully completed earlier this month.
The new system will be used initially for two primary research investigations. The first is an imaging project examining multiple myeloma (neoplastic proliferation of plasma cells) patients. Prof. Ladd and his team will investigate alternative PET tracers to the most commonly used of Fluoro Deoxyglucose (FDG) – a radioactive form of glucose – that will be more specific to myeloma, to provide earlier identification of the efficacy of treatment protocols. The ultimate goal of the team at DKFZ is to provide a more appropriate tracer for multiple myeloma patients, so that this PET tracer can be used in a clinical situation to positively influence therapies.
The second investigation is focused on therapies utilizing heavy ions. There is some indication from work already undertaken in Heidelberg that certain ions are more effective in hypoxic tumors, i.e. tumors with inadequate oxygen supply. DKFZ is looking to verify a positive response to ion therapy in various hypoxic tumors versus conventional photon therapy. For this study the animals with various hypoxic tumors will be examined with the combined PET MRI system before and after both ion and photon therapy. The scientists at DKFZ are aiming to produce results which give clinical indications for ion therapy and new insights into the radioresistance factor hypoxia.
Prof. Mark Ladd, Head of Medical Physics in Radiology at DKFZ, stated: “There is a longstanding relationship between the DKFZ and Bruker. They approached us to ask if we would be interested in being the first to install this combined system in our center. We are now very excited to explore the full potential of the system with the unique PET technology that is fully compatible with the high field MRI system. The combination of information from the high field MR with the PET system in a single machine provides us with a completely unique research tool, and one which we hope will produce essential information to further develop clinical treatments of cancers.”
Wulf-Ingo Jung, Ph.D., the President of the Bruker BioSpin Preclinical Imaging division, added: “We are very exicted about the first installation worldwide of sequential PET/MR at this high field and we know the team at DKFZ will be utilizing the new 9.4 Tesla small animal preclinical ultra-high field MRI with integrated PET detector for some very important cancer research investigations. The unique, combined system will enable the team at DKFZ the key benefit of multi-parametric MRI imaging with excellent tissue contrast for better PET quantification. We are extremely pleased to partner with them and provide the research tools they need to advance scientific understanding of therapies for cancers that affect people across the globe.”
DKFZ is a federal research center with a mission to find ways to improve cancer detection, prevention and cure. Prof. Ladd is part of the Radiology and Radiation Therapy research area that has over 400 researchers working on different topics.
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