CHARLESTOWN, Mass. – August 31, 2010 – The Martinos Center’s integrated MR-PET scanner – one of only two in the U.S. – recently moved into its new home, a state-of-the-art facility in Building 149 of the Charlestown Navy Yard.
In addition to the scanner, the facility houses the Center’s new cyclotron and radiochemistry suite. The cyclotron is already physically in place; installation and testing of the radiochemistry modules needed to produce PET tracers will be completed in the coming months.
Being able to synthesize the tracers in-house, so near the MR-PET scanner, will be a boon to the Martinos community, said researcher Ciprian Catana. “It is essential to have all these close together so that molecules of interest labeled with very short half-lives isotopes (e.g. C-11, O-15) can be used for human and translational multimodality imaging studies.”
The scanner resided in a temporary location down the street until the new facility was ready. Still, moving it was in a way similar to a fresh installation. The magnet had to be ramped down, physically moved and ramped back up. The PET scanner had to be moved and reinstalled separately.
“Fortunately, very competent Siemens MR and PET teams have done most of this work,” Catana said. “Perhaps the main challenge for us was to ‘survive’ without the scanner for almost two months.”