Definition of positron emission tomography (PET-CT)

POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY (PET), combined with computed tomography (CT), is one of the most effective methods of diagnostic imaging, applied mainly in cases of oncological disease, and in some cases of cardiologic and neurological conditions. This innovative method enables oncologists to determine the advancement of neoplastic diseases, the location of the primary foci of some cancers and an assessment of the likelihood of recurrence of pathological processes, as well as their possible advancement. The PET-guided examination makes it easier to assess the effectiveness of the applied treatment, for example in chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and lets the doctors evaluate slight lesions or changes in the treatment scheme; and in some cases of cancer it facilitates the final diagnosis, which may not have previously been possible based on the use of other diagnostic imaging techniques.  
Apart from oncology, the PET method is mainly used in examinations of the brain, e.g. in diagnostics of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, as well as in various forms of schizophrenia and epilepsy. The PET enables the early diagnosis of Huntington’s disease, the monitoring of myocardial metabolisms, cardiologic disorders and inflammations whose origin is unclear.
During the examination, a PET scan of the patient’s entire body is performed, requiring the application or use of the preparation previously administered to the patient, simultaneously - with the computed tomography - picturing the anatomical structures of the body.  The examination is based on the fact that some pathological lesions are accompanied by a change in the metabolism of some chemical bonds, in this case glucose. Therefore the patient is intravenously administered a preparation called radiopharmaceutical, most frequently radio-isotope 18F fluodeoxyglucose (FDG), which is characterised by a short half-life, meaning that the radiation dose is safe. The metabolism of the fluodeoxoglucose is identical to that of glucose and much more intensive in neoplastic cells than in healthy cells, which makes it possible to locate pathological tissues, even before slight structural lesions are visible. A combination of the two methods - PET and CT – provides a detailed assessment of metabolic lesions occurring in cells, as well as identification of pathological foci and their precise location.
All Voxel laboratories use their own FDG resources produced in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Centre in Kraków, which guarantees swift distribution of the preparation within a few hours of its production. The Centre and the modern PET-CT-MR Centre are located in the same venue which makes it possible to use the modern infrastructure of both facilities for research and development of new imaging techniques and advanced clinical investigations, among other things.