Photo: Mikael Stiernstedt
The PET/CT at Umeå University hospital is a General Electric (GE) 690 scanner with a 64-slice CT. One third of office hours are dedicated to clinical research, and the annual turnover on the scanner is now 1700 examinations. Most of the examinations are static but the amount of dynamic studies is increasing. The radiochemistry department is well equipped with both manual and automatic production of a variety of radiotracers. The Cyclotron, a PETtrace (GE), is capable to accelerate protons to 16,5 MeV and is used to produce the radionuclides, 18F, 11C, and 15O for tracer labelling. All production is made at GMP quality.
Today, four radiochemists are employed at the department (Margareta Ögren, Mattias Ögren, Jonna Jacobsson and Micaela Smeds). Mattias and Margareta are responsible for the production and quality control, as well as the development of new tracers. A gallium generator was delivered in late autumn 2014 and the production of Ga-DotaTOC is under development. More tracers are in the pipeline but since the number of radiochemists is limited we do have a waiting list for setting up production of new tracers.
The physicist Jan Axelsson is working with development of protocols, post-processing and quantification of PET studies. One focus is to improve the quantification of tracer uptake. For this purpose both human and phantom data is used. The most complex phantom is made in collaboration with Umeå Institute of Design and is simply put, a 3D-print from a MRI brain examination. The phantom consists of the skull, and striatum delivered in three different sizes, and is used in the on-going dopamine studies. The possibility to create phantoms is increasing and today we can export a 3D script from a CT-scanner if needed. The optimization of CT protocols is done together with the physicist Jonas Andersson and there is a close collaboration with the CT department at the Radiology department.
Helena Nylander is head nurse of PET/CT imaging and with her crew the patients and study participants are in good hands. A lot of research studies are done with 11C-tracers that has a half time of 20 minutes and the requirement on logistics and timing is high with such short turn on time. The routines at the department are set up to take care of this issue.
As head of nuclear medicine I have the overall responsibility of the work and development and together with the physicians working with PET/CT; Carolina Flygare, Jussi Remes, Sara Strandberg, Susanna Jakobson Mo, Torbjörn Sundström, we do all reading of the PET/CT studies and evaluate and develop imaging methods.
In summary, there are a lot of needed collaborators and the key to make PET/CT running smoothly is a well-developed collaboration between all these, which we have. If interested in starting a PET/CT study please contact me for an initial discussion.