New scanner could help detect forms of cancer

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COLUMBIA - The MU Veterinary Hospital welcomed new scanning technology that could help fight and diagnose cancer in both people and animals. There was a ribbon cutting and open house Wednesday.

“This really provides us with a diagnostic tool that we did not have available to our veterinary clinicians before,” said Kevin Lunceford, radiology supervisor at the vet school.

The new machine combines a CT scanner, often used to help diagnose cancer, with the less common PET scanner, which shows the way tissues and organs are acting. It will allow physicians and scientists to better see the inner workings of plants and animals to help better fight illness.

The scanner will be shared by the vet school and medical school.

Dr. Jeffrey Bryan, the director of the PET imaging center, said he is excited about what the scanner means to the university.

“It really represents all the strengths of this campus combined, and it represents the vision of the research department,” he said.

The university is one of the few places in the country with this type of scanner. Boone Hospital has had a PET/CT scanner since 2011. The next closest is at Colorado State. There are other PET scanners in Missouri, but they do not include the added CT scanner. They are also only calibrated to one type of test.

"We are already in line to have five different radioactive elements calibrated." Bryan said.

Bryan is expecting big things from the research that will come from the scanner.

“It will allow us to improve neurological care for both the people of Missouri and the world,” Bryan said.