A cyclotron makes imaging tracers for a positron emission tomography, or PET, scanner, used to help doctors conduct research as well as diagnose and treat diseases.
The PET scanner long has been used by Alzheimer’s researchers to measure the chemical processes that take place in organs and tissues, allowing doctors to determine if they are healthy or diseased. This scanner is different from an X-ray or CT scan, which look at the structure of organs, tissues and bones in the body.
Doctors also use the PET scans to determine the growth rate of cancerous tumors, measuring blood flow in the heart and making certain neurological diagnoses.
The Banner Alzheimer’s Institute recently started to incorporate two new PET tracers that measure amyloid plaques in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, into multiple research projects.
“The new cyclotron and Molecular Imaging Laboratory will play a critical role in helping Banner fulfill its patient care and research missions,” said Dr. Eric Reiman, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute.