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PET Research Facility

The PET Research Facility is located on the ground floor of the MRI Building. It houses a GE PETtrace 10 Cyclotron and a GE 16-slice PET/CT Discovery ST Scanner operated by a Nuclear Medicine registered technologist.

GE PETtrace 10 Cyclotron

The GE PETtrace Radiotracer Production System is a compact, automated cyclotron and radiochemistry system designed for the fast, easy, and efficient production of PET radiotracers.  The PETtrace System is centered on a compact negative ion cyclotron of proven design.  The PETtrace Cyclotron features a vertical mid-plane and can accelerate protons to 16.5 MeV and deuterons to 8.4 MeV of energy.  The system can be configured with various targets/process systems for production of common PET radioisotopes.  The high performance, flexible design is ideal for applications in a research setting.

The PET isotopes, which can be produced by the PETtrace System, including oxygen-15, nitrogen-13, carbon-11, and fluorine-18, are automatically transferred to the radiochemistry processing systems for efficient conversion into finished radiotracers or precursors for use in preparing other labeled molecules.

GE 16-slice PET/CT Discovery ST Scanner

The PET/CT Discovery ST Scanner has 24 detector rings that provide 47 contiguous image planes over a maximum 70 cm transaxial field of view with CT attenuation correction. Axial spatial resolution of this scanner is 3.27 mm at the center of the gantry. Data acquisition modes include static, dynamic, whole body, and gated. The room is equipped with anesthesia gases and exhaust for scavenging the gases. There is a dedicated viewing area to interpret scans and a data analysis room.  In addition, a dedicated research PACS for PET has been created to store PET data in DICOM format (images and raw data).

The scanner has high-sensitivity, uniform spatial resolution across the whole field of view and includes a laser alignment system for accurate positioning. Advanced detector technology - BGO crystals (6.3 mm transaxial, 6.3 mm axial, 30 mm radial) for high sensitivity and photo-fraction. There are 10,080 individual cut crystals for efficient light detection arranged in 24 rings of 420 crystals each. Large detector ring produces uniform resolution important for whole body imaging, especially for lymph nodes under the arm and where skin lesions can be on distant parts of the body. Thick, long-bore collimators and end-shield caps reduce scatter and random events. Excellent electronics provide high bandwidth, and very high count rate capability with low dead time. Large display panel for easy monitoring with bilaterally placed control panels for easy access. The scanner has fast movement with simultaneous up/in or down/out with convenient foot pedals for up/down and accommodates patients that weigh up to 400 lbs.

This research-dedicated facility is equipped with all necessary supplies. There is a participant dressing and waiting area, and a CT-registered technologist performs the scanning. All image data is HIPAA compliant and can be networked (DICOM format) to GE workstations, TeraRecon servers, Mac workstations, or other servers for analysis by investigators. If needed, other shared clinical CT scanners are available.


Organic chemistry laboratory (860 sq ft): three fume hoods, two rotary evaporators, one Perkin Elmer series 1600 FT-IR for characterization of synthesized compounds, a high range vacuum pump, several (more than five) HPLC systems attached with radioisotope and UV detectors for radiochemical synthesis, Varian GLC (TC and radiation detectors), and TLC scanner.

A second organic chemistry laboratory (478 sq. ft.): three chemical fume hoods, a rotary evaporator, two high vacuum pumps, and several routine laboratory instrumentation to perform chemical synthesis.

Metabolite analysis lab: Varian Analytical HPLC (attached with UV and radioisotope detectors) for metabolite analysis, three micro-centrifuges, a rotary evaporator, and a Packard Cobra II auto-gamma counter.

Radiochemistry laboratory (1,350 sq. ft.): Two Capintech Hot Cells, two Comecere hot cells, four mini-cells, and one GE [11C] methyl iodide synthesis box for radiochemistry. In an area remote from the hot cells and shielded fume is a laboratory containing three fume hoods, a shielded rotary evaporator, and a rotary chromatatron, and a laminar flow hood.  Two additional Hot Cells were installed in 2005.

While this facility explores a wide array of research questions, it currently emphasizes the area of neurosciences, with a long, grant-funded history in the area of substance abuse.