UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Magazine Fall 2015 - Page 8

research update Envisioning the Future: UAB’s Advanced Imaging Facility Continues to Shine By JOSH TILL and BEENA THANNICK AL Since opening in 2013, the UAB Advanced Imaging Facility (AIF) has steadily grown into one of the most advanced and cutting-edge facilities not just in Alabama, but across the United States. The AIF, located in the basement of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Wallace Tumor Institute, houses the most innovative, cutting-edge forefront of patient care and research, improving our ability to diagnose and monitor treatment.” Unlike other imaging techniques, PET scans Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging can provide unique cellular, biological and molecular equipment found in Alabama, which expands UAB’s information occurring in an organ or tissue and can capability for both clinical and experimental PET. As provide a whole body assessment, ultimately helping part of the UAB Department of Radiology, the facility to manage the disease in a more efficient, precise and has two time-of-flight GE Discovery 710 PET/ accurate way. Specifically, PET can detect whether CT scanners and recently acquired a state-of-the-art lesions are benign or malignant at their earliest stages. PET/MR machine, which combines the capability of It can also verify suspected cancer reoccurrence, molecular imaging with PET and the high resolution determine whether chemotherapy or other treatments of MR (magnetic resonance) imaging. are working as intended, and sometimes provide Weighing in at 18,000 pounds, the PET/MR is one of the first of its kind by GE installed in the United States. Along with the facility’s other imaging information that can help eliminate the need for surgical biopsy or unnecessary surgeries or treatments. During a PET scan, a patient is injected with a equipment, it will play an important role in moving small amount of a radiotracer that travels through the therapies and improved diagnostics more rapidly from body and is utilized by the tissues or the organ being the laboratory to the patient bedside in many research studied. The patient is then moved to one of the areas, including cancer, neuroscience and cardiology, PET scanners, which contain an array of detectors says Janet Eary, M.D., director of the AIF and Cancer that receive the energy emitted by the radiotracer. Center senior scientist. “While PET/CT is used for The system then processes that information and both clinical and research imaging, the PET/MR is generates the images to be interpreted by specially used primarily for research. This positions UAB at the trained UAB faculty. continued on next page 12 U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R # K N O W U A B C C C • U A B . E D U / C A N C E R 13