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Full Body PET Scanner

March 20, 2017

A full-body PET scanner could help medical researchers understand how different body systems interact.



A new view of the human body. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

CAT scans, MRIs and most other medical imaging technologies reveal anatomy; PET scans show hot spots of activity, where cells are burning the most sugar. That makes them important for r evealing fast-growing cancer cells, and studying disease processes. But until now, PET scans imaged just thin sections of the body. In the journal Science Translational Medicine, UC, Davis biomedical engineer Simon Cherry and his colleagues describe a full-body PET scanner.

SIMON CHERRY (University of California, Davis):

And we can potentially get the image of the whole body in something like about 30 seconds. The other point is that because we’re collecting a lot more signal, we can get a much higher quality image as well.


Cherry says many processes and diseases involve multiple systems and tissues; the new scanner will let scientists study these interactions throughout the body for the first time. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Bob Hirshon