PET (Positron Emission Tomography)

Division Chief: Paul Jerabek, Ph.D.


This division provides equipment, facilities, and operations support for human clinical and research studies, and for animal research studies using PET. The primary resources consist of a PET imaging suite, two cyclotron facilities, and support laboratories.

PET Imaging Suite

The PET imaging suite houses a Siemens HR+ PET Scanner. The scanner is a whole-body (82 cm ring diameter) capable of acquiring sixty-three contiguous slices over an axial view of 15.5 cm. Images can be acquired in 2-D mode or 3-D mode with septa retracted. Images can be reconstructed at an in-plane resolution of approximately 4.5-mm full width at half maximum (FWHM) and an axial resolution of approximately 5.1-mm FWHM (2-D mode).

Support Equipment

PET Stimulus Presentation Equipment: A portable cart-mounted dual-PC computer system can present either visual or auditory stimuli and record behavioral responses during PET studies. There is also a specially constructed, very wide field-of-view, PC-controlled, visual stimulation system using a Fresnel lens and a very large curved screen that can be used for studying peripheral visual processing. In addition, tape recorded video and auditory stimuli can be presented to the subjects. An extremely versatile stimulus presentation software called E-Prime (Psychology Software Tools, Inc.) is also being used to present audio and video stimuli. E-Prime is a new graphical experiment generator for the Windows 95/98/ME environment. E-Prime consists of a suite of applications to design, generate, run, collect data, edit and analyze the data. E-Prime includes: 1) a graphical environment allowing visual selection and specification of experimental functions; 2) a comprehensive scripting language; 3) data management and analysis tools. E-Prime is also capable of sending a signal through the printer or serial ports for interfacing with external devices. Thus, E-Prime can be used to trigger an event (e.g., signal an external device such as a pulse generator to begin and/or stop pulse sequences) or notify an external device of an event (e.g., in order to mark the event in the data collected by the external device).

Gas Delivery System: A gas administration system designed to deliver radioactive gases for continuous or bolus administration of 15O-labeled gases (15O - oxygen, 15O - carbon dioxide, and 15O - carbon monoxide).

Microprobe Blood Sampler: A fiber optic microprobe blood sampler can be integrated with the scanner to provide blood sampling of radiotracer activity as a function of time for quantitative radiotracer modeling (e.g., blood flow and glucose metabolic rate).

Cyclotron Facilities

GE Model MC17: This cyclotron was installed in 1991 through a joint purchase by the Department of Defense (Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs) and the Department of Veterans Affairs, made possible via a unique sharing agreement among these two entities and the UTHSCSA. The accelerator is a positive ion, dual particle (proton and deuteron), fixed energy (17.2 MeV protons and 8.6 MeV deuterons), isochronous accelerator. Available targets include one for production of C-11, two for F-18 (fluoride ion), and two for O-15.

A radiochemistry laboratory equipped with three hot cells and a quality control laboratory are located adjacent to the cyclotron. Both laboratories are equipped with laboratory instrumentation to support the radiochemistry activities.

Siemens Eclipse HP: This cyclotron is located in the newly constructed Ruth Bowman Bower Cyclotron Wing, completed in April 2008. The cyclotron is a self-shielded, negative ion, single particle (proton), fixed energy (11 MeV) accelerator with dual target irradiation capabilities. Available targets include one for production of C-11, three for F-18 (fluoride ion), one for F-18 (F2 Gas) and one for O-15.

A production radiochemistry laboratory equipped with four mini hot cells, and a quality control laboratory equipped with a hot cell and laboratory instrumentation to support the radiochemistry activities, are located adjacent to the cyclotron. The facility also houses a research laboratory for additional radiochemistry production and development.