NEW YORKA new prototype machine is producing images
that combine CT and scintillation-camera-based PET scans into a
single image. In a presentation at the Chemotherapy Foundation
Symposium XVII, Hak Choy, MD, professor of radiation oncology,
Vanderbilt University, showed images of lung cancer produced by the
new devicethe GE Millennium VGcode-named Hawkeye.
The prototype being tested at Vanderbilt has been used in more than
20 cancer patients, about half with lung cancer, Dr. Choy said. He
plans to use the machine to assess response in a lung cancer trial in
which stage III patients will receive induction paclitaxel (Taxol),
radiation, and surgery.
This is in very early development, Dr. Choy said in an
interview with ONI. There are currently only two such machines
in the world. One is at Vanderbilt, where scientists have
worked with the company to produce the prototype machine, and the
other is in Rambam Hospital, Haifa, Israel. Dr. Choy said that the
equipment has been cleared by the FDA and could become commercially
available in about 6 months.
This machine should save time in the diagnostic workup,
he said, and should be very accurate because youre
looking at an anatomical boundary based on the CT scan and the
activity of the tissue in the PET scan simultaneously.
Dr. Choy is also enthusiastic about the equipments potential
usefulness in radiation therapy. Currently, in lung cancer, radiation
oncologists base their target areas on CT scans or chest x-rays, he
said. Whenever we see an abnormality, we treat it as a cancer,
but we dont know whether it actually is a cancer or how much of
it is a cancer, he said. By using the Hawkeye images, we
can actually pinpoint the radiation beam to the active tumorat
least in theory.