s03a.jpg (20332 bytes)Buoyed by continuing enthusiasm for the oncological capabilities of positron emission tomography (PET) and new diagnostic and therapeutic discoveries relating to Alzheimer’s disease, breast, colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancer — not to mention heart and thyroid disease — the Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM of Reston, Va.) stages its 47th annual meeting in St. Louis from June 3 through June 7 at America’s Center.

SNM 2000 will include a special program on women’s health issues and nuclear medicine on June 3 on the Washington University (St. Louis) campus and demonstrations throughout the show of SNM’s lung and heart proficiency testing program. More than 1,000 scientific paper and posters also will be available for review.

SNM recently unveiled plans to enter two new service areas — practice accreditation and proficiency testing — in an effort to better serve the nuclear medicine community. The society says this accreditation program is the only one in this specialty area based upon actual on-site laboratory inspections by physicians and scientists.

SNM’s entry into proficiency testing began last fall with a $71,000 Veterans Administration (VA) contract. The pact was set to expire this past April when a final report was delivered to the VA, but the agency signed a six-month extension earlier this year with SNM in anticipation of a new two-year contract.

June 4 is the day the exhibit hall opens for the 6,000 or so anticipated attendees.

On the floor
ADAC Laboratories Inc. (Milpitas, Calif.) comes to SNM 2000 fresh off FDA 510(k) clearance of its Skylight gantry-free gamma camera.

The design of the camera allows the detectors to be mounted directly into a room structure, removing limitations associated with the floor-based mechanical gantries of existing gamma cameras. The system moves to accommodate a patient’s position rather than having the patient positioned to fit the system. (See story on page 20.)

ADAC also is introducing the next product in its CPET line. CPET Plus offers enhanced processing speed — 21/2 times faster than the original CPET — and new electronics that allow for additional features, such as simultaneous reconstruction and acquisition.

CPET Plus currently is available commercially. A field hardware/software upgrade is available for current CPET customers.

ADAC also will debut Vantage Pro as the next step-up in the company’s Vantage non-uniform attenuation correction product line. Vantage Pro has new algorithms that were developed in conjunction with Emory University (Atlanta) and Cardiology Consultants (Kansas City). “There are improvements in consistency and image quality, in terms of transmission and noise reduction, and with automated quality control tools,” said Mohamed Elmandjra, ADAC’s vice president of marketing.

Vantage Pro also will be available as an upgrade package to Vantage’s installed base. ADAC expects to distribute Vantage Pro in the third quarter.

Marconi Medical Systems Inc. (Highland Heights, Ohio) comes to the annual SNM show for the first time under its new name, ready to talk about the company’s vision and direction.

Marconi also returns to the single-detector camera market after a 12-month absence with its new Meridian unit, a single detector, large field-of-view imaging system designed to perform reliable, high-quality general purpose imaging of routine nuclear medicine studies.

Meridian targets nuclear cardiology, outpatient and nuclear medicine departments, which require outstanding image quality, acquisition flexibility and safe, reliable and intuitive operation. Meridian integrates an open gantry and patient table creating a lightweight and compact self-contained system. Meridian also has improved patient access and unobstructed detector motion for imaging patients in an upright and seated position or lying on a gurney. The imaging table is stepped to support pediatric imaging. A transparent communication link to the Odyssey processing station via DICOM 3.0 yields access to a nuclear medicine workstation.

Meridian is designed and manufactured by Danish Diagnostic Development (Denmark), which has more than 20 years of nuclear gamma camera design and development experience. Meridian currently is in beta testing in Copenhagen and is planned for a September commercial release.

Marconi also will launch its new gPETAZ (gammaPETAZ). gPETAZ stands for the new proprietary advanced technology development called AZTec. gPETAZ offers advances in both digital detector hardware and sophisticated event handling algorithms, establishing new benchmarks in count rate performance and whole body acquisition times — outperforming first- and second-generation coincidence detection devices.

gPETAZ is available as an option on the Axis variable angle dual-detector and variable angle triple-detector systems. It allows customers to add PET imaging capability matched to throughput needs. Combining gPETAZ with the performance of the triple-detector imaging system results in a new benchmark in dedicated PET performance on a SPECT/PET system.

Marconi also will update its Beacon non-uniform attenuation correction device for single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and PET. BeaconS for SPECT was released this past March, while BeaconP for PET continues as a works-in-progress in initial beta trials. Commercial release could come before the end of this year.

Available on Marconi’s Irix and Axis nuclear gamma cameras, BeaconS consists of two permanently mounted devices specifically designed to correct non-uniform attenuation caused by anatomic structures during gated cardiac SPECT and cardiac SPECT imaging. The result is improved transmission image quality, ultimately enhancing diagnostic confidence.

Beacon achieves higher quality source-based transmission maps through the use of 133Barium’s 356 keV primary photon emission. The energy source allows a greater number of photons to pass through the patient and the collimator, thus yielding higher transmission acquisition efficiency and greater anatomic detail.

Finally, Marconi will exhibit its next generation of image fusion software. Image Fusion 2 (VoluMatch) is designed to help physicians more easily integrate multi-modality image data: anatomic (CT or MRI) and merging it with functional images (SPECT or coincidence data). The fused images are used for simulation and treatment planning for oncology, as well as neurology and cardiology applications.

The new generation of image fusion software offers completely automated registration between the different modalities, provides algorithmic improvement and enhances the user interface, allowing an operator to spend less time in operating the software to improve workflow and productivity.

VoluMatch is going into beta trials in the U.S. and Europe. A commercial release in July is planned.

Siemens Medical Systems Inc.’s Nuclear Medicine Group (Hoffman Estates, Ill.) will have several unveilings at SNM 2000. The biggest launch is expected to be a new generation computer system developed jointly by Toshiba America Medical Systems (Tustin, Calif.) and Siemens.

The Windows NT-based e.soft workstations offer users optimized nuclear medicine workflow and seamless connectivity to various imaging modalities.

Siemens has begun shipments of e.soft workstations with all new E.Cam orders. As of May 1, some two dozen had shipped, with expectations of approximately 60 deliveries by SNM time.

The workstations, which run Siemens’ new nuclear medicine-specific imaging application, are based on the syngo platform, the company’s multi-modality computer architecture.

“The syngo development was approximately a $100 million investment for Siemens,” says Barbara Franciose, Siemens’ group vice president and general manager of worldwide nuclear medicine. “We then put our nuclear medicine applications, workflows and special features on top of that. With built-in data fusion, we can view CT, angio and MR images right at our nuclear medicine workstation.”

Compatible with both hospital information systems (HIS) and radiology information systems (RIS), the e.soft system includes options such as:

• Quantitative Gated SPECT (QGS) — automatic segmentation, quantification, analysis and display of static and gated short axis myocardial perfusion SPECT; 2D and 3D displays with interactive cine controls; and full left ventricular volumetric analysis.

• Quantitative Perfusion SPECT (QPS) — automatic segmentation, quantification, analysis and display of static, non-gated short axis myocardial perfusion SPECT; and normal file comparison with stress, rest, reversibility, polar maps and defect analysis; and

• Gated Blood Pool SPECT (GBPS) — automatic segmentation and quantification of gated short axis blood pool SPECT; automatic calculation of both right and left ventricular volumes; and ejection fractions with interactive 3D displays.

TAMS is referring to the new product configuration as the T.Cam in order to distinguish between the introduction of the Windows NT e.soft workstation and the E.Cam, which refers primarily to the gantry and acquisition system.

Siemens plans to introduce a new generation of its coincidence system, the E.Cam Duet. The E.Cam Duet is a software and hardware upgrade for the E.Cam+ and “does not make the E.Cam+ obsolete,” Franciose adds.

Siemens also plans two new extensions of its dedicated PET product line, but the company is keeping those debuts under wraps until show time.

Back at the Toshiba booth, the company will demonstrate its automatic registration tool (ART), which provides a fully automatic method of matching the position and size of two tomographic images of the same patient and superimposing them for display. ART allows nuclear medicine, CT and MRI images to be registered and superimposed within their own modality or among different modalities.

GE Medical Systems (GEMS of Waukesha, Wis.) comes to SNM 2000 with Hawkeye, the commercial name for its CT SPECT and CT PET system and technology that merges nuclear medicine imaging with digital X-ray tomography to produce an image that combines anatomy and physiology.

Hawkeye received FDA 510(k) marketing clearance last fall and currently is in operation at five sites. Through April, clinicians have used Hawkeye — which debuted at SNM ’99 as functional anatomic mapping — to complete more than 500 patient studies.

GEMS also will launch its processing and review workstation platform. The Entegra is based on a Windows NT platform and is Web-enabled.

GEMS also shows its new Millennium MC, a dual-head, dedicated cardiac system, which is upgradeable to a full-feature dual-head camera. Millennium MC is available commercially and has begun shipping.

Other SNM plans include GEMS’ premium mobile Advance PET system. The company has added PETDirect wireless land capability. PETDirect uses an antenna to transmit images from the mobile unit to the facility, eliminating the need for wires or cables. GEMS recommends that the wireless transmit images within 2,000 yards away of the receiver.

SMV America (Twinsburg, Ohio) exhibits its works-in-progress Positrace system, which combines a PET camera with a CT scanner for oncology imaging. The Positrace uses digital detectors in a hexagonal ring configuration with “extra thick NaI crystals,” according to SMV. The design makes the Positrace especially well-suited for whole-body FDG imaging with axial coverage of 50 centimeters for a single scan and 78 centimeters in two scans.

Analogic Corp. (Peabody, Mass.) supplies the CT scanner portion of the Positrace. Lonnie Mixon, vice president of worldwide marketing for SMV, said the company expects a list price in the $900,000 range for the entire system.

Positron Corp. (Houston) will introduce the newly FDA-cleared mPower camera at SNM this year with enhanced features for oncology imaging. John Ariatti, Positron’s vice president of sales and marketing, says the mPower takes the technology Positron uses in cardiac imaging and brings it to oncology.

“This is an evolution from our Posicam HZL system,” adds Ariatti. “It still has the basics of the overall design philosophy in sensitivity and uniform sampling and dynamic capability to do very short life isotopes. Most important is the patient throughput improvements.”

Imaging services provider Alliance Imaging Inc. (Anaheim, Calif.) will exhibit a mobile PET scanner. The system will include an Advance PET scanner from GE Medical Systems in a 42-foot trailer, along with a scan room, control room and physician consultation room.

“Showcasing a mobile PET system at SNM presents radiologists, physicians and department managers with a visual reference that our shared-service programs can meet their facility’s PET needs,” says Alliance CEO Richard Zehner.

s03b.jpg (12128 bytes)Medical printer firm Codonics Inc. (Middleburg Heights, Ohio) will show its NP-1660M imager for dry printing in the nuclear medicine department. The network-ready printer features Medical Color Matching, which allows users to calibrate the printer and adjust colors to match those on the monitor. The 1660M outputs to DirectVista clear and blue-base film, grayscale paper and ChromaVista color paper and transparency.

Agfa Corp. (Ridgefield Park, N.J.) will display its DryStar 2000 color printer, DryStar 3000 large format black-and-white printer, Solid Inkjet 100 paper printer and the Solid Inkjet 400 multiple size film printer. The Solid Inkjet 100 is a dry desktop printer for referral images and text in 8.5-inch by 11-inch format.

Biodex Medical Systems Inc. (Shirley, N.Y.) will have a variety of new products to show at SNM. Among them is a new dose drawing station with an L-block shield designed for use with high-energy nuclides. It includes a Pro-Tec PET 3cc syringe shield and an optional L-block shield and a large viewing area. An optional interlocking lead brick cave forms a protective wall along the sides and rear of the dose drawing station.

s03c.jpg (9539 bytes)Biodex Medical Systems will feature
a host of new products at SNM, including
this radiopharmaceutical dose drawing
station with L-block shield.

Other new products at the Biodex booth include several new pigs — lead-lined vials used to transport isotopes within and between hospitals and pharmacies — for PET and PET shipping systems.

Immunomedics Inc. (Morris Plains, N.J.) returns to SNM with its CEA-Scan diagnostic imaging agent. A contrast agent consisting of an antibody fragment labeled with the radioisotope technetium-99m, CEA-Scan is used to detect the presence, location and extent of metastatic disease in patients with primary or recurrent colorectal cancer. The scan uses a small dose to image tumors. Imaging begins approximately three hours after the injection of CEA-Scan and lasts two to three hours.

Bioscan (Washington, D.C.) believes in something old and something new for SNM this year. The analytical instrumentation manufacturer will display its new AR 2000 radioisotope imaging scanner, along with several of its standby Lumi-Scint liquid scintillation counters.

The AR 2000 includes features such as direct digital counting of isotopes on TLC plates, gels and blots; built-in calibration software; 2D programmable capability; and speedy results for quality control, radiochemical purity analysis and other processes.

Lumi-Scint features advanced photon counting for detection of luminescence and all isotopes, including tritium.

Digirad Corp. (San Diego) heads to SNM with its flagship 2020tc Imager and SPECTour chair. A compact planar and SPECT nuclear medicine imaging system, the 2020tc Imager and SPECTour chair is designed to increase flexibility, expand clinical utility and provide first-rate image quality. The gamma camera system comes complete with processing and reporting software.

Vulcan Lead Inc. (Milwaukee, Wis.) will show samples of its smaller products, including shields, X-ray collimators and pigs.

Vulcan President Charles Yanke says the company also works with customers to design and manufacture buckets, or containers, for gamma cameras; casings for X-ray and CT imagers; ancillary shielding; and other products particular to the nuclear medicine industry. Some of those items weigh in at approximately 300 pounds, thus making transport to SNM impossible. “They’re a little hard to put in a suitcase,” says Yanke.

MedImage Inc. (Ann Arbor, Mich.), whose offerings include viewing, image data translation and communication products, comes to SNM with software viewing applications.

MedImage’s DeltaManager accepts digital image data for all major nuclear medicine vendors, allowing for centralized reading, printing and archiving on one system. The DeltaManager features SPECT displays, volume rendering, image registration, and definite gray scales and color tables.

Galen is the name of MedImage’s teleradiology or departmental viewing system for all imaging modalities. With Galen, data may be captured via video, film scanner or digital means.

MedImage viewing products are available on Macintosh and Windows platforms, and are compatible with standard Web browsers for access by referring physicians.

Berlex Laboratories Inc. (Wayne, N.J.) promotes some of its pharmaceutical products with newer developments at SNM this year.

The company’s Fludara For Injection, available since 1991, treats refractory B-cell CLL, while Quadramet, introduced in 1999, offers relief of cancer pain associated with metastatic bone lesions. More recently available radiopharmaceuticals include NeoTect for identifying somatostatin receptor-bearing pulmonary masses and AcuTect for scintigraphic imaging of acute deep vein thrombosis in the lower extremities.

NeoTect and AcuTect are products developed by Diatide Inc. (Londonderry, N.H.), which was acquired by Schering Berlin Inc. (Montville, N.J.) last November.

Berlex in April aligned with Diatide and CIS-US (France) to expand nuclear medicine diagnostics and therapies.

Syncor International Corp. (Woodland Hills, Calif.) carts its new PETPig unit dose shield to SNM 2000.

This PETPig is a 15-pound tungsten container that allows the safe transport and administration of unit doses of FDG, or F-18 Fluorodeoxyglucose, the most common, short-lived radiopharmaceutical for PET. Constructed with solid tungsten walls measuring 2.25 centimeters thick, the PETPig also reduces hand exposure. Every dose is shipped with its own syringe; a threaded top provides easy access to the syringe; and a Thermos-style handle allows the container to be carried to the imaging suite without holding container sidewalls. Each container accommodates both 3cc and 5cc syringes. end.gif (810 bytes)