Transforming Clinical research: Total-body scanner set to unlock disease insights

Transforming Clinical research: Total-body scanner set to unlock disease insights

The Total-Body Positron Emission Tomography (PET) facility, due to be operational in 2024, will capture images of patients’ entire bodies quicker, in more detail and use less radiation than existing scanners.

In combination with data from the other new scanner in London, the Scotland scanner forms part of a new National PET Imaging Platform (NPIP) which experts believe will accelerate the development of new drugs and diagnostics.

 Unlocking treatments

The platform, a partnership between Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Innovate UK, aims to advance healthcare research and clinical trials, and unlock new treatments for complex diseases like cancer as well as cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

The NPIP Scotland Total-Body PET facility will allow academics to connect to the new platform to share data and collaborate on research.

 Collaborative approach

The scanners are part of a £32 million investment into the ground-breaking technology by the UK Government, through the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Infrastructure Fund.

The facility, based at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, will be jointly managed by the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

NPIP’s Total-Body PET scanners have higher sensitivity than current technology and will reveal new insights into biology and disease.

Professor David Newby, The University of Edinburgh, Co-Director of the NPIP Scotland Centre, said: “The Scotland Total-Body PET facility will bring together academics, industry and clinicians to create an integrated and accessible national PET facility for the benefit of patients across Scotland and the north of England. The Total-Body PET scanner will allow us to examine patients in ways that haven’t been possible before, propelling medical innovation and discovery, and ultimately improving the detection, diagnosis and treatment of complex diseases, including cancer.”

PET scanning is a non-invasive imaging technique that can detect diseases’ early onset.

Current PET technology leaves large sections of the human body out of the field of view, requiring the patient to be repositioned multiple times to achieve a full-body view.

Supplied by Siemens Healthineers, the two Total-Body PET scanners will capture superior images of a patient’s entire body in near real-time.

  Higher volume

The new scanners are also faster, exposing patients to much lower doses of radiation, meaning more patients – including children – can participate in clinical trials to improve understanding of diseases.

The speed of Total-Body PET scanners mean that NPIP will be able to facilitate more patient scans, enhancing the scale and impact of clinical research projects.

This richer picture of human health will help researchers to develop new diagnostics, improve the quality and speed of drug discovery, and bring them to market quicker to benefit patients.

NPIP’s network of infrastructure and intelligence will provide a complete picture of patients and how they respond to new drugs and treatments.

Uniquely, it will also connect insights from many research programmes and trials. In doing so, it will begin to build a rich bank of data that the PET community can access for the benefit of patients.

Dr David Lewis, University of Glasgow, Co-Director of the NPIP Scotland Centre, said: “Total-Body PET scanners are a quantum leap forward in the technology of body scanning, and we are proud that a partnership between the University of Edinburgh and the University of Glasgow will jointly manage one of the first of these cutting-edge scanners in the UK. The Scotland Total-Body PET scanner will be a catalyst for innovative new research and cross-sector collaboration, ultimately benefitting patients by improving our understanding of complex diseases.”

Dr Juliana Maynard, Director of Operations and Engagement for the National PET Imaging Platform and Head of Translational Imaging at Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “PET scanning is nothing short of transformational for patients who need it the most. Total-Body PET scanners can detect serious diseases with unprecedented speed and accuracy. NPIP will allow the kind of collaboration in imaging research the likes of which the UK has never seen before. It means that, collectively, we can power forward drug discovery with renewed confidence and drive world-leading capabilities in detection, diagnosis, and treatment.”

  Related Links

   National PET Imaging Platform (NPIP)