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Oncofreeze PET/CT Scans Deliver Faster, Better Diagnosis

Thanks to a unique partnership between the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine and Siemens, The University of Tennessee Medical Center has access to some of the most cutting-edge scan research in the world. The Molecular Imaging & Translational Research Program (MITRP), directed by Dustin Osborne, PhD, has worked with Siemens for more than 10 years to bring the latest in scanning technology to our area.

Through this partnership, the medical center was the first in the country to begin using a PET/CT scanner with FlowMotion. FlowMotion scans in a single, continuous sweep, making scans more efficient.

Now, the medical center is the first in the country to use OncoFreeze, creating even better images in less time. Dr. Osborne said, "When added to the FlowMotion technology, OncoFreeze doesn't just reduce the blurring caused by natural breathing, it also speeds up scan time, dropping it from 30 minutes to nine minutes."

The combination of FlowMotion and Oncofreeze gives medical center physicians the highest quality scans in the shortest time of anywhere in the region.

For Harold Bryson, a scan with a state-of-the-art technology called OncoFreeze caught his lung cancer early. For many cancer patients like Bryson, this new tool can lead to better treatment and a longer life.

PET/CT scanning technology plays an important role in cancer treatment. This type of scan detects cancer cells, providing for early diagnosis, precise localization and more accurate tumor detection. Physicians also use PET/CT scans to track how well cancer treatment, like chemotherapy and radiation, has worked.

In 2016, Bryson, a patient at The University of Tennessee Medical Center, was diagnosed and treated for throat cancer. Last year, he came back for a follow-up PET/CT scan, which showed his throat was clear of cancer. But the medical center's state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner, with a unique technology called OncoFreeze, detected something new: a small spot on his lung.

For Bryson, the shorter scan time meant not having to stay in the imaging system for longer than necessary, allowing him to get back to teaching and playing with his grandson. The improved image quality from the new scanner led his physician, Joseph Kelley, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology, to discover the spot on his lung. That spot may have been missed without motion correction imaging.

And Bryson isn't alone. Now that the scans are so fast, the techs have time to do more of them. That means all of the medical center's cancer patients who receive a PET/CT scan have access to the Oncofreeze technology and motion-free images.

Cancers like Bryson's, which might not have been detected in a traditional scan, now can be caught and treated early. Also, the physicians who read them have clearer scans than ever before, which means better diagnoses and even more customized treatment for cancer patients.

Dr. Kelley said, "Very few hospitals in the world have access to this world-class scanner. We're incredibly fortunate."

Bryson is grateful for this topline scanner, too. "Without OncoFreeze, the cancer would have been more progressed and I might not be alive today."

Posted September 27, 2018



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