Clinical PET-CT

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) provides unique in vivo information about specific molecular pathways in cancer, and holds much translational value for Hillman investigators.

The PET modality:

  • provides necessary infrastructure and expertise for noninvasive human imaging of molecular targets;
  • facilitates translational research aimed at imaging studies in cancer patients, using combined PET-CT technology; and
  • provides expertise and guidance in experimental design, development, validation and implementation of methodology for human PET imaging studies, as well as interpretation of study data.

Specifically, PET-CT services include:

  • PET radiotracer development and production
  • in vivo tracer distribution and tracer kinetic studies
  • human PET and PET-CT imaging
  • data processing and analyses of
    • tracer uptake studies
    • tracer quantification in human PET studies
    • state-of-the-art tracer kinetic modeling

The PET radiochemistry laboratory houses a Siemens Eclipse HP 11 MeV negative-ion cyclotron, which is configured with a dual beam extraction port and two 4-position target carousels, increasing the maximum number of mounted targets to a total of eight. This commercially available and supported instrumentation provides the desired short duty cycles and repeat production capabilities needed to realize the increased radiopharmaceutical production capabilities of the new Eclipse HP cyclotron, but also the demonstrated potential for producing very high specific activities.

The facility’s Eclipse HP configuration presently includes seven targets, leaving the eighth position free for future expansion in accordance with need:

  • two [18F]fluoride targets
  • two [11C]CO2 targets
  • one [18F]F2 target
  • one [13N]NH3 target
  • one [15O]oxygen target

The facility also offers equipment for the remote synthesis of carbon-11 and fluorine-18 labeled radiopharmaceuticals:

  • GE Healthcare TRACERLab™ FX MeI gas-phase [11C]methyl-iodide system
  • two TRACERLab™ FX M carbon-11 incorporation platforms
  • a FASTlab™ fluorine-18 incorporation platform

PET Radiotracer Development

[18F]Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is available for human studies on a daily basis, and [18F]Fluorothymidine (FLT), [18F]FMISO, and [18F]ML-10 have been recently approved by the Radioactive Drug Research Committee (RDRC) for human assessment of cell proliferation, cell hypoxia, and apoptosis, respectively.

Clinical PET-CT Equipment

The Hillman PET-CT service has utilized the extensive existing UPMC resources, including:

  • One ECAT Exact HR+ scanner at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
  • GE Discovery 710 Time of Flight PET-CT at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC
  • GE Discovery ST PET-CT at UPMC Shadyside
  • GE Discovery ST PET-CT at UPMC Monroeville
  • 64 slice GE Discovery ST PET-CT at UPMC Passavant
  • 64 slice GE VCT PET-CT at the Hillman Cancer Center
  • 64 slice GE VCT PET-CT at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Siemens Biograph mCT Flow TrueV PET/CT scanner at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
  • Siemens 3T PET-MR (mMR Biograph) at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital

Most of the off-campus scanners are linked to the main PET center at UPMC for scan interpretation. A combined PET-CT scan reading-consultation area at the Hillman Cancer Center allows instantaneous dual interpretation of PET-CT scans. The area, staffed full-time by radiologists credentialed to interpret both PET and CT scans, allows for greater diagnostic accuracy in interpretation and more convenient one-to-one consultations with the oncologist.

PET-CT Human Studies Consultation Services

The PET experts offer consultation services to investigators to discuss specific research objectives and the appropriate PET imaging protocol. Consultations include guidance in experimental design, development, validation, and implementation of methodology in the interpretation of study data. Please contact Dr. James Mountz for more information or to set up an appointment regarding your clinical imaging studies.