Introduction to Nuclear Medicine
History of Nuclear Medicine
Industry Growth
PET Growth to Drive Radiopharmaceutical Industry Growth
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a cutting-edge variant of radiopharmaceutical imaging. PET’s high degree of sophistication allows for detailed study of an organ’s metabolic activity, unlike the purely anatomical imaging modalities of computer tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). PET’s molecular imaging technique merges computer-aided technology with chemical processes to produce three-dimensional (3-D) color images of organs or substances functioning inside the body.
 
Shortly after the radiopharmaceutical is injected, swallowed, or inhaled, the PET scan must be performed, because the radioactive, positron-emitting tracers decay (lose their positrons) quickly. When the radionuclide tracer reaches the target tissue, the positrons it emits collide with negatively charged electrons, releasing two identifiable gamma rays, which are traced and captured by the PET scanner that is located close to the patient’s body.
 
Diagnostic agents for PET make it possible to observe the initial biochemical changes that occur as a precursor to disease as well as to monitor the disease’s progression. The biochemical changes, such as high metabolic activity associated with tumor growth, make PET a suitable tool for early diagnosis and treatment.
 
PET imaging utilizes diagnostic radiopharmaceuticals such as fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and fluorine-18. For instance, a radioisotope that is combined with a glucose-based carrier molecule is injected into the body and travels to the target area of interest, enabling the radioisotope to gather at the site. The concentrated mass can be imaged using a PET scanner, which highlights the cancerous cells within the body. PET provides metabolic or functional imaging, facilitating body processes to be imaged, rather than capturing structural forms.


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The radionuclides employed for imaging purposes are isotopes of radioactive elements such as uranium or iodine that produce gamma rays with high penetrating power that can be recorded by a gamma camera or scintillation detector that captures the images..>

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