A combined positron emission tomography (PET)-electron paramagnetic resonance imaging (EPRI) system: initial evaluation of a prototype scanner

Phys Med Biol. 2018 May 16;63(10):105010. doi: 10.1088/1361-6560/aabfa1.


The advent of hybrid scanners, combining complementary modalities, has revolutionized the application of advanced imaging technology to clinical practice and biomedical research. In this project, we investigated the melding of two complementary, functional imaging methods: positron emission tomography (PET) and electron paramagnetic resonance imaging (EPRI). PET radiotracers can provide important information about cellular parameters, such as glucose metabolism. While EPR probes can provide assessment of tissue microenvironment, measuring oxygenation and pH, for example. Therefore, a combined PET/EPRI scanner promises to provide new insights not attainable with current imagers by simultaneous acquisition of multiple components of tissue microenvironments. To explore the simultaneous acquisition of PET and EPR images, a prototype system was created by combining two existing scanners. Specifically, a silicon photomultiplier (SiPM)-based PET scanner ring designed as a portable scanner was combined with an EPRI scanner designed for the imaging of small animals. The ability of the system to obtain simultaneous images was assessed with a small phantom consisting of four cylinders containing both a PET tracer and EPR spin probe. The resulting images demonstrated the ability to obtain contemporaneous PET and EPR images without cross-modality interference. Given the promising results from this initial investigation, the next step in this project is the construction of the next generation pre-clinical PET/EPRI scanner for multi-parametric assessment of physiologically-important parameters of tissue microenvironments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy / instrumentation
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy / methods*
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy / veterinary*
  • Equipment Design
  • Multimodal Imaging / veterinary*
  • Phantoms, Imaging*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / instrumentation
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / veterinary*