The CU-RIC operates a state-of-the-art GE Signa PET/MR scanner that combines a clinical-grade 3-Tesla MR scanner with a series of PET detector rings centered within the MR magnet that allow simultaneous acquisition of data for MR and PET modalities. While MR can yield both excellent anatomical detail and brain activity localization, it cannot yield specific biomolecular/biochemical information. PET radiopharmaceutical agents can be designed to target/bind with specific molecular tissue or interact in a specific biochemical reaction. PET radiopharmaceuticals can be used for diagnosis, interrogation of molecular pathways, targeted therapy, and monitoring response to therapy. The combination of PET with MR allows simultaneous, precise co-registration of both anatomical and physiological information from any part of the body.
For imaging of traumatic brain injury (TBI), PET/MR yields high resolution anatomical information about associated structural changes, while PET allows the detection/ investigation of the development of early neuro-inflammation, microglial activation, and accumulation of tau proteins by use of PET agents that can specifically target these processes. PET/MR may be able to allow earlier diagnosis, track progression, and evaluate response to therapy.
Other disease processes that would benefit from similar capabilities of PET/MR include Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders, personalized medicine, cancer, cardiac disease, and metabolic disorders.