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A Portable PET Insert System for Simultaneous TOF-PET and MR Brain Imaging

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41MH123253-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41MH123253
Amount: $991,760.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 101
Solicitation Number: PA18-870
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-04-07
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-03-31
Small Business Information
Stanford, CA 94305-7413
United States
DUNS: 081081509
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (650) 384-9193
Business Contact
Phone: (650) 384-9193
Research Institution
STANFORD, CA 94305-2004
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

Project Summary
Medical imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography
(PET) have been widely used in studying the underlying mechanisms of mental illnesses and neurological
disorders such as brain tumors, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, and depression, etc. However, PET and MRI
scans are almost always ordered as separate studies on separate machines, often resulting in weeks of delay
in acquiring critical information about a patient’s disease. The recent rise of hybrid PET/MRI has enabled the
simultaneous acquisition of anatomical, functional, and molecular information about the patient. However, its
accessibility is limited by the high cost ($5M) of the commercial permanently integrated PET+MRI systems (+ an
additional $1.5-2M room renovation cost). Today, only about 40 PET/MRI systems are installed in the US
compared to almost 13,000 installed MRI systems. Moreover, the design and geometry of the commercial whole-
body PET/CT and PET/MRI systems are not optimized for brain imaging, resulting in poorer sensitivity and spatial
resolution achievable for neurological studies. To address these needs, PETcoil is proposing to develop a
portable PET insert that can be installed into (and removed from) any existing MRI systems to achieve
simultaneous PET/MRI for a fraction of the cost compared to installing an integrated PET+MR system. In addition
to significantly lower cost, the proposed PET insert also provides 3 times higher photon sensitivity and 4 times
finer volumetric spatial resolution compared to state-of-the-art whole-body integrated PET+MR systems. Key to
facilitating this removable insert concept is the novel “radiofrequency (RF)-penetrable” technology we have
developed at Stanford. In this Phase I project, we will create a compact and scalable design of the PET detector
module ready for scaling up to a full RF-penetrable PET insert system for a Phase II proposal. We will also
validate the MRI compatibility of the PET detector modules by comparing the PET and MRI performance results
acquired with the PET detector modules outside the MRI system to those acquired inside 3 MRI systems under
simultaneous PET and MRI operation. The success of this project will mitigate risks toward the commercialization
of the first portable time-of-flight (TOF) RF-penetrable PET scanner insert that leverages existing MRI systems
to achieve simultaneous TOF-PET/MR brain imaging, without requiring modifications to the MR system hardware.
The proposed portable PET insert can greatly disseminate PET/MRI for brain imaging and facilitate the research
and clinical characterization of a wide variety of neurological disorders.Project Narrative
Combining complementary medical imaging modalities such as positron emission tomography (PET) and
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has shown tremendous clinical value in characterizing a patient’s disease.
The goal of this project is to develop a portable PET insert system optimized for brain imaging that can be
installed into any existing MRI system to achieve simultaneous PET/MRI, significantly lowering the cost and
hence increase availability of neurological PET/MRI studies, while also achieving significant performance
enhancements over state-of-the-art PET/MR systems.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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