New 3D body scanners are a ‘huge step’ forward in treating cancer, dementia and other serious illnesses, health chiefs say
- The high-tech machine can do a full-body scan of an adult in five minutes
Ultra sensitive 3D body scanners are a ‘huge step’ forward in treating cancer, dementia and other serious illnesses, health chiefs said last night.
According to experts, the ‘game-changing’ high-tech machines can do a full-body scan of an adult in five minutes and a child in one minute.
They provide a single scan of the body rather than multiple images like current machines – making them faster and more sensitive, so they can potentially detect smaller tumours and abnormalities.
In a UK first, two of the machines will be available to patients after being installed at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in London and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.
The PET-CT scanners can be used for cancer patients to detect if the disease has spread or show in precise detail if a treatment has worked to fully shrink a tumour.
Ultra sensitive 3D body scanners are a ‘huge step’ forward in treating cancer , dementia and other serious illnesses, health chiefs said last night (File Photo)
For heart disease sufferers, they can show if medications are working to clear blockages within blood vessels. And for dementia patients they can show the build-up of harmful molecules in the brain.
There are around 70 PET-CT scanners in the UK, which require a patient to have a mildly radioactive substance injected into their body which sticks to tumours or blood clots to show their location.
But the sensors on these machines typically only pick up radiation covering an area of about 20 centimetres (eight inches).
It means patients have repeated scans taken at multiple time points as they are pushed through the machine, with the images being stitched together.
A full-body PET scanner has far more sensors covering an area four times larger and is capable of imaging most of the body at once. Not only are the images likely to be more detailed and detect smaller tumours, they also require a lower dose of radioactive substance for patients – potentially making them safer and faster for children.
According to experts, the ‘game-changing’ high-tech machines can do a full-body scan of an adult in five minutes and a child in one minute (File Photo)
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The full-body machines will result in much quicker images, with current scanners taking 20 minutes for adults and ten minutes for young children.
Dr Sam Godfrey, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘This technology could be a game-changer… in understanding the impact of cancer on the whole body.’
Professor Lucy Chappell, chief scientific adviser to the Department of Health and Social Care, called the development ‘a huge step for clinical research’.
The project has been backed by £32million from the Government via the UK Research and Innovation Infrastructure Fund.
Dr Juliana Maynard, of Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: ‘Total-body PET scanners can detect serious diseases with unprecedented speed and accuracy.’
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