Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging supports and sponsors numerous researchers and laboratories in clinical and pre-clinical investigations and studies.
Nuclear medicine studies can be particularly useful when they are digitally combined with the anatomical images generated by computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Boston Children's Hospital is one of the few pediatric nuclear medicine programs nationwide that is routinely capable of electronically fusing nuclear medicine studies with images obtained from CT or MRI. In many cases, this gives a more complete assessment of the problems being investigated. For example, a neurologist can see the exact location in the brain where a seizure originated or an oncologist can determine which parts of a tumor are growing the fastest. Nuclear medicine studies that can be combined with MRI or CT include bone scans, brain SPECTs, PET scans, and rest-stress myocardial perfusion scintigraphy.
More information on image fusion can be found on our Advanced Image Analysis Laboratory website.
Pediatric PET scanner
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a highly sensitive technology that generates three-dimensional images of biochemical changes too subtle to discover by other means. It is extremely useful in the early diagnosis, staging and assistance with treatment and follow-up of cancer, as well as the detection of neurological disorders and heart conditions. Boston Children's Hospital is the only facility in New England and one of the few in the country that has a PET scanner dedicated solely to children.
Advanced radiation treatment for neuroblastoma
Nuclear medicine physicians and scientists are an integral part of the Dana-Farber/Children's Cancer Care team's MIBG treatment for children with relapsed neuroblastoma (cancerous tumors that originate in the nerve tissues). The treatment, which uses a radioactive compound to kill tumor cells, is available in only a handful of major medical centers in North America and is the first therapy of its kind to be offered in New England.
We use the latest imaging equipment to perform the diagnostic or therapeutic procedure your child needs. Our facilities include:
five gamma cameras for high-quality SPECT and planar imaging (three dual-detector systems and two single-detector systems)
one portable Digirad gamma camera in Boston
PET/CT: combines in a single gantry system both a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and an x-ray Computed Tomography, so that images acquired from both devices can be taken sequentially, in the same session from the patient and combined into a single superposed image. This provides faster imaging time for patients.
MicroPET scanner enhances research
Boston Children’s Small Animal Imaging Laboratory (SAIL) has a high-resolution, research PET scanner to help scientists in many disciplines investigate diseases. Our nuclear medicine scientists use it to develop and refine new nuclear medicine imaging techniques.