A fusion PET–MRI system with a high-resolution research tomograph-PET and ultra-high field 7.0 T-MRI for the molecular-genetic imaging of the brain



We have developed a positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) fusion system for the molecular-genetic imaging (MGI) of the in vivo human brain using two high-end imaging devices: the HRRT-PET, a high-resolution research tomograph dedicated to brain imaging on the molecular level, and the 7.0 T-MRI, an ultra-high field version used for morphological imaging. HRRT-PET delivers high-resolution molecular imaging with a resolution down to 2.5 mm full width at half maximum (FWHM), which allows us to observe the brain's molecular changes using the specific reporter genes and probes. On the other front, the 7.0 T-MRI, with submillimeter resolution images of the cortical areas down to 250 μm, allows us to visualize the fine details of the brainstem areas as well as the many cortical and subcortical areas. The new PET–MRI fusion imaging system will provide many answers to the questions on neurological diseases as well as cognitive neurosciences. Some examples of the answers are the quantitative visualization of neuronal functions by clear molecular and genetic bases, as well as diagnoses of many neurological diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. The salient point of molecular-genetic imaging and diagnosis is the fact that they precede the morphological manifestations, and hence, the early and specific diagnosis of certain diseases, such as cancers.