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JUNE 15, 2006
  Invitation to Cover: Advancements in "Time-of-Flight" Technology Make New PET/CT Scanner at Penn a First in the World
  This Imaging System Captures an Amazingly Precise Simultaneous Structural and Functional ‘Look Inside the Body’ Leading to Better Diagnoses and Treatment of Patients
WHAT: Members of the media are invited to come see an amazing new PET/CT at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Its powerful advanced "time-of-flight" technology, pioneered in part at Penn, makes it the first clinical machine of its kind in the world. With this technology, we can take a precisely detailed “look” inside the body, gathering and using this information to create an image.

Using this advanced "time-of-flight" technology on our uniquely outfitted PET/CT instrument, Penn radiologists are able to get much better image quality, leading them to be better able to detect lesions. This technology is used to retrieve excellent high-resolution functional images of the body. Ultimately, this technology may lead physicians to “a clearer view inside a patient” to better understand what’s wrong and how to treat it.


Wednesday, June 21
11 a.m. - 12 p.m.

11:00 a.m. Welcoming remarks and explanation of the new PET/CT by Dr. Chaitanya Divgi, new Chief of Nuclear Medicine and Clinical Molecular Imaging
11:15 a.m. Dr. Laurie Loevner, a head and neck imaging specialist, explains a real-use application of the PET/CT in relation to cancer patients
11:30 a.m. Tour of PET/CT suite
11:40 a.m. Q & A with Drs. Divgi and Loevner
12:00 p.m. Event ends

WHERE: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Donner Auditorium - basement level
(Plus, tour of PET/CT suite on 3rd floor)
3400 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
**Valet parking available at HUP & garage parking available across the street at Penn Tower**

NOTE: This event is NOT open to the general public.

The PET/CT system is the latest and greatest in imaging! It tests patients at the same time, giving radiologists the ability to overlay both the diagnostic and the functional images - in order to compare them. This new "combined PET/CT" is a first at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and is now being utilized clinically for patients. It has been used for research here since last November.

This particular unit, the GEMINI TF from Philips Medical Systems, is a one-of-a-kind PET/CT instrument, utilizing advancements in "time-of-flight" technology. Joel Karp, PhD, a radiology physicist whose research team has contributed to the development of this technology for the PET/CT scanner, explains, “This GEMINI TF has significantly better timing characteristics than other commercial instruments. The 'time-of-flight' information that is recorded during the scan is used in reconstructing a higher quality image, allowing a clearer look at the glucose metabolism inside the body. This is currently the only commercial PET system that can do this. And the combination of the PET and the CT allows us to fuse the two images, thereby correlating the body’s function with the body’s anatomy.”

Karp continues, "We can precisely identify the time difference in detection of the two coincident gamma rays to within a half of a billionth of a second, giving us better localization of the site of positron annihilation which allows us to calculate a better reconstructed image. With this 'time-of-flight' technology, the ability to both quantify and detect lesions is improved compared to other instruments without this new technology.”

How It's Already Being Utilized to Benefit Patients
Laurie Loevner, MD, is a neuroradiologist who specializes in head and neck imaging. She’s already utilizing the PET/CT to look for "hot spots" in cancer patients. “PET picks up what other imaging can’t. It’s where structure and function meet; it allows radiologists to 'bridge that anatomical-functional gap.' We can use this PET/CT to check for early indications of cancer or to see if the cancer has spread. We can also look to see if a particular therapy has been successful in treating the cancer.”

A New Face at Penn: Welcome Dr. Divgi
“This PET/CT is the most advanced in the world! By utilizing the new 'time-of-flight' technology, it can record an event in time to the billionth of a second,” explains Chaitanya Divgi, MD, the new Chief of Nuclear Medicine and Clinical Molecular Imaging. “It can precisely locate events as they occur, resulting in unsurpassed technological images. Its potential is phenomenal. It expands our use of PET.”

Coming from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Divgi joined the Department of Radiology at Penn in May. Divgi, a native of India, has a clinical research focus on radioimmunotherapy and targeted therapy. He is the author of more than 80 peer reviewed journal articles and enjoys an international reputation of excellence in his field.

“This field lets me combine all of my passions - physics, chemistry and medicine. It satisfies my scientific curiosity,” Divgi adds.


PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S.News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, which is consistently ranked one of the nation's few "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S.News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.


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