This is a state-of-the-art dedicated research facility featuring Canada’s first simultaneous PET/MRI. We are strategically located adjacent to the PET/CT and clinical 1.5T MRI systems within the Nuclear Medicine department at St. Joseph’s Hospital, a part of St. Joseph’s Health Care London in London, Ontario.
Whole Body PET/MRI at Lawson
Our group is comprised of scientists, radiologists, technologists, and support staff. Our many collaborators include physicists, kinesiologists, cardiologists, rheumatologists, oncologists, orthopedic surgeons, geriatricians, and psychiatrists, with whom we perform ethics-approved clinical and preclinical imaging research.
The various studies we have underway include local and multicenter trials, academic research, and industry-sponsored research. We are able to accommodate research studies promptly, as our scanner is 100% research funded and operated. This translates into short wait-times for research participants
- Canadian leaders in the field with 3rd installation in North America (2012)
- Capable of PET/MRI or 3T MRI-only studies
- Full complement of support equipment for functional imaging
- On-site cyclotron for PET radiopharmaceutical production
- Close proximity to PET/CT for studies involving both technologies
- Opportunities for software & hardware development
- Accessible for clinical & pre-clinical research
- Onsite PET & MRI physicists, scientists & clinicians
- Full-time dual-certified PET/MRI Technologists
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a sensitive, non-invasive, nuclear imaging technology that allows diagnostic measurements of physiological and biochemical processes within the body. The unrivaled advantage of PET stems from its ability to track changes in a variety of disease conditions at the cellular metabolic level before structural or anatomic changes are seen on CT or MRI. Therefore, PET is uniquely capable of detecting disease before it is evident through other diagnostic imaging tests.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a non-invasive imaging technology that uses very powerful magnetic fields and radiofrequency waves to produce detailed anatomical images of body structures. MRI produces superior soft-tissue contrast and excellent anatomical detail without the use of ionizing radiation. Functional parameters can also be investigated using a number of multi-parametric MR imaging techniques including diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI), dynamic contrast enhanced imaging (DCE), spectroscopy and fMRI.
PET/MRI can provide MRI-derived information on both anatomy and function for correlation with PET-derived physiologic information. However, the combination of PET with MRI provides many advantages which go far beyond simply combining the metabolic imaging capabilities of PET with structural imaging of MRI.
3T Biograph mMR
The Lawson PET/MRI facility features a 3T Siemens Biograph mMR, a true SIMULTANEOUS PET and MRI imaging system. The simultaneous capture of PET and MRI images lends many advantages over sequential acquisitions of PET and MRI:
- Improved co-registration of PET and MRI images
- Shorter overall imaging times
- Ability to observe rapidly changing physiological processes simultaneously
What We Do
The applications for PET/MRI are limitless. The scanner is used by researchers to help improve diagnosis and treatment of Canada’s major health challenges, such as cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, mental illness and cancer.
There are a wide variety of ongoing research projects using the Lawson PET/MRI. Examples of studies currently underway include those related to:
- Prostate cancer
- Cardiac sarcoidosis
- Neurodegenerative disorders
- Post-traumatic stress and affective mood disorders
- Breast cancer
To learn more, please visit the PET/MRI page of the Lawson Imaging website.
At this time, the PET/MRI scanner is only currently available to patients who are enrolled in a research study.