Dr. Roger Lecomte is Professor of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology at Université de Sherbrooke in Canada and the Scientific Head of the Sherbrooke Molecular Imaging Center (SherbrookeImaging.ca). He developed the first PET scanner based on avalanche photodiodes (APD) and established the first animal PET imaging facility in Canada. He was the co-founder in 2002 of Advanced Molecular Imaging (AMI) Inc., manufacturing the LabPET, the first APD-based, fully-digital, commercial PET scanner distributed worldwide by GE Healthcare from 2007 to 2011. Dr. Lecomte was the guest speaker at a lecture organized by the MGH Gordon Center. Below is his presentation summary.
Preclinical PET plays an important role in biomedical research by enabling in vivo investigation of molecular processes in animal models. According to Dr. Lecomte, same assays can eventually be translated into powerful diagnostic tools for guiding therapy and assessing treatment outcome in clinical trials and clinical practice. PET imaging in rodents raises special challenges due to the small size of animal organs and the sensitivity required to measure rapid dynamic processes in real time. Dr. Lecomte has been working to address these issues through a variety of creative solutions. While the theoretical limit of spatial resolution has nearly been reached with current detector technology, further gains in resolution and sensitivity can still be foreseen in clinical PET through technological breakthroughs. One such leap forward is the use of preclinical PET detector technology for human brain imaging. Another significant progress would be ultra-high resolution time-of-flight acquisition (~10 ps). In Dr. Lecomte’s presentation, developments of the preclinical PET instrumentation were also reviewed along with application examples.