GE Healthcare introduces new nuclear medicine system

StarGuide SPECT/CT system to help advance Precision Health and support greater Theranostic capabilities in nuclear medicine

GE's Starguide is the latest-generation SPECT/CT system

GE Healthcare has unveiled StarGuide, a next-generation SPECT/CT system that uses the latest digital technologies to help clinicians improve patient outcomes in bone procedures, cardiology, neurology, oncology, and other medical specialties.

The system’s cutting-edge 12 CZT Digital Focus Detectors not only scan patients in 3D to provide more information to clinicians, but they are also optimised for Theranostic procedures, which combine the delivery of therapy to patients with diagnosis to monitor disease.

“COVID-19 and the events of 2020 highlighted the need for simple and fast workflows to allow clinicians and staff more time to care for patients, but it also highlighted the importance of listening to, and rapidly responding to, healthcare system and patient needs,” explains Jean-Luc Procaccini, president and chief executive of molecular imaging and computed tomography at GE Healthcare.

“Today, healthcare systems continue to be asked to maximise efficiencies, without compromising patient care. In response, we designed our StarGuide SPECT/CT system to provide clinicians with the data they need to help them make personalised care decisions and treatment recommendations that are at the heart of precision health.”

For more than 20 years, SPECT/CT has proven to be a vital imaging tool used by clinicians to help diagnose and track the progression and regression of heart conditions, cancers, and other diseases.

And GE Healthcare has been at the forefront of this technology and the molecular imaging industry since introducing the first commercially-available SPECT/CT scanner in 1999.

Since then, SPECT/CT’s clinical use and diagnostic power have rapidly increased with the introduction of CZT detector technology, functional anatomical mapping, attenuation correction, flexible image reconstruction, and dose reduction technologies.

“StarGuide represents a breakthrough in the world of SPECT,” said Matthieu Bailly, head of nuclear medicine and a physician at the Hospital of Orleans, France – the first global site for the StarGuide SPECT/CT system.

“Thanks to the versatility of StarGuide’s shape adaptive gantry, we can narrow our field of view to focus on specific parts of the anatomy – such as the spine, heart or brain – to generate images with impressive detail not easily attained on conventional SPECT/CT systems.

“Using this technology, we are already redefining how we explore bone and cardiac assessments – and the ability to scan multiple isotopes at once is affording us opportunities to perform simultaneous imaging in a single session. We are just beginning to unlock the system’s potential.”

Thanks to the versatility of StarGuide’s shape adaptive gantry, we can narrow our field of view to focus on specific parts of the anatomy – such as the spine, heart or brain – to generate images with impressive detail not easily attained on conventional SPECT/CT systems

The ability to generate high-quality SPECT/CT images starts with StarGuide’s unique Optical Scout technology, which leverages the system’s efficiency-focused Swift Plan workflow to determine the contour of the patient body and set the rest of the clinical scanning procedure into motion.

After processing the Optical Scout data, StarGuide’s detectors and table automatically position themselves for close proximity and contactless scanning of the patient.

The slim Digital Focus Detectors then orbit the body as closely as possible, and from all necessary angles, to scan the target area — and not the air surrounding the patient.

The result is high-resolution images for clinicians and minimisation of time on the table for patients.

Before performing a SPECT/CT, a clinician administers very-small amounts of radioactive materials which releases radioactive emissions that are detected by the CZT detectors and processed into images.

Compared to conventional technologies, CZT detectors offer improved SPECT sensitivity and resolution of these emissions, which, in turn, helps clinicians pinpoint the size, shape, and position of lesions with exceptional accuracy. Paired with innovative reconstruction, the resulting images provide outstanding quantification for the diagnosis and staging of disease and monitoring of treatment.

Traditionally, only one tracer could be imaged at a time, but the energy resolution of the GE Healthcare-produced CZT crystals for StarGuide’s Digital Focus Detectors offers clinicians the unique ability to simultaneously image multiple tracers in a single scan.

This helps reduce the need for multiple patient visits and, in relevant cases, multiple patient sedations. Also, the inherent temporal registration between the images helps increase clinicians’ confidence in differential diagnosis.

Finally, the combination of StarGuide’s shape adaptive gantry and CZT detector technology supports the imaging of tracers used in Theranostics with impressive quality. This includes Lutetium-177 (177Lu), a tracer used to diagnose and evaluate a patient’s treatment response for neuroendocrine and prostate cancer.

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