After over a decade of development, the world’s first full-body medical scanner has produced its first images. The groundbreaking imaging device is almost 40 times faster than current PET scans and can capture a 3D picture of the entire human body in one instant scan.
Called EXPLORER, the full-body scanner combines positron emission tomography (PET) and X-ray computed tomography (CT). Following years of research, a prototype, primate-sized scanner was revealed in 2016. After expansive testing, the first human-sized device was fabricated in early 2018.
Developed in a collaboration between scientists from UC Davis and engineers from Shanghai-based United Imaging Healthcare, the very first human images from the scanner have finally been revealed. The results are being described as nothing short of incredible and the research team suggests EXPLORER could revolutionize both clinical research and patient care.
“The level of detail was astonishing, especially once we got the reconstruction method a bit more optimized,” says Ramsey Badawi, chief of Nuclear Medicine at UC Davis Health. “We could see features that you just don’t see on regular PET scans. And the dynamic sequence showing the radiotracer moving around the body in three dimensions over time was, frankly, mind-blowing. There is no other device that can obtain data like this in humans, so this is truly novel.”