quality, in particular for large patients (>250 pounds), where current three-dimensional PET scanners are frequently of borderline quality. Further advances in timing resolution beyond the current 600 picoseconds of the Philips Gemini TOF will be coupled to further improvements in signal-to-noise ratio, image contrast, and reduced partial volume corrections, allowing more accurate tracer quantification in small structures.
Advances in the technology of hybrid scanners will combine the benefits of the soft tissue anatomy, MR spectroscopy, and functional MR alongside the sensitivity of PET imaging. This has the potential to revolutionize imaging of the brain, and with it spur interest in body PET/MR systems for imaging the prostate where spectroscopy is well developed.
Advances in SPECT/CT instruments will directly facilitate quantitative SPECT studies, of vital importance in targeted radionuclide therapies. Software is under development to co-register serial SPECT/ CT exams and generate dosimetric maps for the radionuclide, of significant importance for patient-specific targeted therapy planning. The extensive portfolio of SPECT agents approved by the Food and Drug Administration coupled with the unique ability of SPECT to perform simultaneous multienergy window exams widens previously untapped opportunities in single photon nuclear medicine imaging, through advances in quantitative SPECT imaging.
The above examples represent only a portion of the advances that are likely to be seen in molecular imaging instrumentation over the next decade.
RECOMMENDATION: Encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. The DOE-OBER should continue to encourage collaborations between basic chemistry, physics, computer science, and imaging laboratories, as well as multi-disciplinary centers focused on nuclear medicine technology development and application, to stimulate the flow of new ideas for the development and translation of next-generation radiopharmaceuticals and imaging instrumentation. The role of industry should be considered and mechanisms developed that would hasten the technology development process.