At present, a new hybrid imaging technology combining PET and MRI is emerging. The construction of hybrid scanners that allow simultaneous MRI and PET required the development of a new type of MR-compatible PET detector, which was first realized for studying small animals. The first industrial prototypes of such integrated MR-PET scanners for human brain studies have been installed recently. Beyond time saving in patient management and optimal spatial overlay of anatomic and functional information, this technique offers new perspectives with regard to the simultaneous observation of physiological and biochemical processes. Functional brain activation and interaction of receptor ligands during special activation tasks or pharmacological intervention may be explored in humans. Thus, MR-PET opens new horizons in multiparametric neuroimaging.
The institute holds two hybrid MR-PET scanners at high field and ultra high field with 3 Tesla and 9.4 Tesla, respectively. Both scanners are based on whole body Siemens-Medical MRI systems equipped with identical Siemens BrainPET inserts. The PET inserts are based on Avalanche photo diodes since conventional photo multipliers are not working inside the magnetic field of the MR-scanners. The positioning of the BrainPET insert in the centre of the magnet offers the opportunity for iso-centred imaging in space and time.