Cancer Featured

Sunnybrook acquires new scanner that will expand imaging capacity and innovation

Team Sunnybrook standing with the new PET/CT scanner

Earlier this year, the Sunnybrook medical imaging team acquired a state-of-the-art positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scanner.

PET/CT is a hybrid imaging system that combines the precise diagnostic functionality of assessing physiological functions (PET) with the anatomical assessment of various organs (CT). This combination with the scanner’s leading-edge digital PET detectors and quicker processing power, mean that image quality is enhanced and that diseases are detected with higher sensitivity (earlier) and specificity (more accurate).

“This is truly the only one of its kind in the hospital,” says Henry Sinn, Sunnybrook’s medical imaging director, who adds that there are just a handful of PET/CT scanners throughout the province. “It allows us to expand our imaging capacity at Sunnybrook, and patients are getting better service because the scanning is much faster.”

While this new scanner has and will continue to lead to exciting improvements, acquiring this equipment and creating the significant infrastructure needed to house it was no easy task.

Strong support and collaboration by Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), Sunnybrook senior leadership, corporate planning & development, and the flexibility from the medical imaging and oncology teams, were all needed before this new PET/CT scanner could call Sunnybrook home.

“We had to do a lot of re-configurations of existing space and functions, meaning we had to move people and services. It was a very complex project,” says Henry. But through thoughtful design, careful phasing, strong teamwork and dedication, he says, “We came out successful.”

This collaborative achievement is expected to have widespread and innovational impacts because, unlike older, similar scanners whose applications are solely in oncology, this new scanner can also be used for cardiac, neurological and research purposes.

Knowing the work that went in to acquiring the PET/CT scanner and knowing that it will help Team Sunnybrook invent the future of health care, Henry says, “It is a milestone investment well aligned with Sunnybrook’s strategic directions, particularly in precise and personalized treatments. It feels very good.”

The new PET/CT scanner

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Kaitlin Jingco