NCT Dresden is Keeping a Sharp Eye on Cancer

Scientists at the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Dresden are excited about a new, sophisticated imaging device, which is only available in a few locations across Europe. The scanner, which is intended solely for near-patient research, includes an integrated whole-body device for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET), a dual-energy computed tomography scanner and two state-of-the-art ultrasound systems. NCT researchers plan to use the devices to enhance radiotherapy, increase the precision of minimally invasive cancer treatment or establish new radioactive probes for PET imaging in clinical trials.

At NCT, medical research often is restricted to evenings or at the weekend, because the main devices are used throughout the day at the clinic. "[Our] scientists will now be able to access a variety of high-end imaging devices for their near-patient research, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is an important basis for promoting cancer research," says Prof. Mechthild Krause, Managing Director at NCT Dresden.

As part of studies, patients at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus will benefit directly from the new imaging platform. Highly accurate internal images are an important basis for treating cancer as gently as possible with minimally invasive procedures. With this detailed imaging, NCT scientists want to further increase the precision of minimally invasive procedures in the future. For example, NCT scientists in Dresden and Heidelberg want to find out more about the actual primary tumor in patients with prostate cancer and then tailor radiotherapy even more precisely to the individual patient. Using the simultaneous recording technique, the researchers also want to find out early on how to respond to the treatment of patients treated with chemotherapy pancreatic cancer. Ultimately, using this scanner will minimize the radiation exposure to patients and staff.

"Our goal is to clearly individualize cancer therapies in the future, meaning we can tailor them to the respective patients and their diseases," explains Prof. D. Michael Albrecht, Medical Director of the University Hospital Dresden. "The new imaging scanner is an important tool to advance this personalized cancer medicine." This technology, designed and manufactured by Siemens Healthineers, provides the scientists complete spatial coverage information about tissue properties and the metabolism of cells.

The imaging scanner, worth around six million euros, was mainly funded by the NCT / German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). It has dual-energy CT scans and can simultaneously produces images with two different X-ray energies. It has capability to capture 128-body layers per rotation within 140 milliseconds—creating exceptional images with remarkable speed. Construction of a specially-designed facility is scheduled to be completed by 2020, and until then the NCT imaging scanner is located on the grounds of the University Hospital in Dresden.

Tags: Medical News

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