New PET-CT scanner improves entry to most cancers diagnostics in London, Ontario: LHSC – London

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Officials at the London Health Sciences Center mark the arrival of a new cutting-edge medical imaging device which they say will improve access to cancer and disease diagnostics, speed up the number of patient scans and strengthen the organisation’s academic research.

The device, known as a PET/CT scanner, will enable medical staff to scan more patients more comprehensively when it comes to diagnosing cancer and other health problems, including cardiovascular and neurological diseases, LHSC said in a statement.

The scanner, which will be operational later this month, uses both a PET (positron emission tomography) and CT (X-ray computed tomography) scanner in the same session. The scans are then combined together to create a detailed 3D image of the structures inside the body, officials said.

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Speaking to Global News on Wednesday, Dr. Jonathan Romsa, head of the LHSC Division of Nuclear Medicine, outlines the impact the new scanner will have when it comes to diagnosing cancer early, before structural changes are seen.

“Because it’s a molecular imaging device, we can see these molecular changes…before we see that as, for example, mass growth or structural changes in the bone or elsewhere,” he said.

dr Romsa said this allows a health team to determine whether something appears to be more cancerous or benign and how far a mass has grown.

“This is very important information because it allows the cancer team to really tailor the type of treatment to the extent of the cancer and the diagnosis.”

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The scanner will also allow the patient’s medical team to better see if treatments are working and if the cancer is returning in someone who has stopped their treatment, he added.

In addition, the previous scanner limited the number of patients that could be seen daily — about 15 per day — which hampered the ability of cancer patients to progress to the next stage of treatment.

“As imaging has become increasingly important for cancer management and treatment decisions, the number of patients lining up for the study has increased,” he said.

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“By having the scanner here, we can treat more patients and therefore they don’t have to look to other PET/CT cameras in Ontario for timely access.”

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The London Health Sciences Center is a regional cancer center in Ontario serving patients throughout Southwest Ontario. According to Stephen Nelli, nuclear medicine coordinator at LHSC, the new device is estimated to be able to scan up to 25 patients per day and will have capabilities beyond that.

“The benefit of this scanner is that it’s much faster because it has a larger detector for the radiotracers,” Romsa said.

“As such, we can use this to lower the dose of radiotracers we give patients, resulting in a lower radiation dose, but it will also allow us to get the information we need for each study more quickly.”

The Children’s Hospital at the LHSC will also benefit greatly from the new scanner, as pediatric patients no longer have to travel out of the region for such medical scans, as has often been the case in the past.

LHSC says the London Health Sciences Foundation and Ontario Health/Cancer Care Ontario helped fund the purchase of the PET/CT scanner, which is the organization’s first such device.

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– with files by Devon Peacock

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