Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography / X-ray Computed Tomography (SPECT/CT) is a combined platform that allows near-simultaneous imaging of a radioactive tracer (via SPECT), and distribution of anatomy (via CT). SPECT/CT has applications in both research and clinical arenas. In research, we use it to monitor stem cell therapy, follow cell migration, and investigate new ways of imaging the heart. In clinical practice, it is applied to cardiology, oncology and neurology.


Hybrid SPECT/CT: nuclear medicine scan of a human heart fused with a full chest X-ray CT. Researchers at Lawson have developed new image processing methods for generating state-of-the-art images. Metabolic information (obtained with SPECT) is combined with anatomical information (obtained with an X-ray CT scan) for improved diagnostic accuracy.
R.Z. Stodilka
hybrid imaging
F.S. Prato
nuclear medicine physics
G. Wisenberg



Future Directions

Presently, we are focusing on improving the value of the CT data in cardiac SPECT/CT. Most notably, we demonstrated that contrast-enhanced CT can delineate the zone of infarction, which can guide surgical delivery of stem cells, and help understand the migratory patterns post-transplantation. We are establishing partnerships with major manufacturers of imaging equipment to translate our techniques to the clinic.

Key Accomplishments

Contributions to date:

• (experimental) We demonstrated that SPECT, in a canine model, can monitor simultaneously and quantitatively: transplanted cell location, cell function, and perfusion to underlying tissue for 24 hours continuously. Stem cells were radiolabled and transfected with a reporter gene and transplanted into diseased tissue. Subsequently, a reporter probe was injected, and imaged with SPECT.

• (theoretical) In vivo radiolabeling using the reporter gene / reporter probe paradigm is powerful for tracking cells, yet quantification is problematic due to poor contrast-to-noise arising from extensive non-specific uptake. Our in vitro / in vivo dual-label strategy provides a priori localization information, improving quantification of the in vivo radiolabel.

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