Medical technologies and digital infrastructure provider GE Healthcare unveiled StarGuide, a next-generation single-photon emission computerised tomography/computerised tomography (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 StarGuide was unveiled in March this year.
The system’s cutting-edge 12 cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) Digital Focus Detector scans patients in three-dimensions to provide more information to clinicians. The 12 CZT 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,” says GE Healthcare molecular imaging and computed tomography president and CEO Jean-Luc Procaccini.
“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.”
Head of nuclear medicine at the Hospital of Orleans in France Dr Matthieu Baily says StarGuide represents a breakthrough in the world of SPECT. “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.”
Baily mentions that using this technology will lead to the redefining of how bone and cardiac assessments are explored – and the ability to scan multiple isotopes at once is affording opportunities to perform simultaneous imaging in a single session. “We are just beginning to unlock the system’s potential.”
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.
“StarGuide allows us to acquire the patient’s data in the best conditions,” explains Hospital of Orleans medical physicist Gilles Le Rouzic.
“The pixelated CZT modules combined with registered Dual-Channel tungsten collimation also contribute to improved resolution and sensitivity compared to conventional SPECT/CT. Every test we’ve conducted thus far shows better results than a standard NaI camera. All in all, the shape adaptive gantry of this new device is innovative by its very nature.”
Before performing a SPECT/CT, a clinician administers small amounts of radioactive materials (radiopharmaceuticals) 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 excellent 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 ability 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, a tracer used to diagnose and evaluate a patient’s treatment response for neuroendocrine and prostate cancer.
While there is still much work to be done in the field of Theranostics and Precision Health, StarGuide offers clinicians unique opportunities to make personalised care decisions and treatment response assessments that are at the heart of Theranostics. GE Healthcare is uniquely positioned to advance these efforts as the only partner with solutions spanning from pharmaceutical diagnostics, cyclotrons, chemistry synthesis, PET/CT, PET/MR, nuclear medicine, advanced digital solutions and pharma partnerships to cover the breadth of steps from discovery to diagnosis to treatment.