May 29, 2024


The Joy of Technology

New high-tech scanner in GR will give quick diagnosis


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new state-of-the-art tool in Grand Rapids will soon be available to patients for the first time in the United States outside of research.

The total body PET and CT scanner has been delivered to BAMF Health at the Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building in downtown Grand Rapids.

The device allows patients to be scanned in a fraction of the time using less radiation and will create more detailed images.

Cheri Gottke, the vice president of molecular imaging and digital radiography with United Imaging, said the technology is revolutionary.

“The total scan time on this machine is between 30 seconds and, say, three minutes. A normal PET scanner and the normal patient point of view is between 20 minutes and 45, that’s game changing,” Gottke said.

Dr. Brandon Mancini is the medical director for the BAMF Health in Grand Rapids.

“This type of scanner allows us to see things in the greatest resolution possible so we can see things that are smaller, make better diagnostic decisions or therapeutic decisions from that information,” Mancini said.

The machines range from $10 million to $20 million depending on the configuration. BAMF Health said the machine it purchased cost around $18 million.

Doug Meijer, a BAMF Health board observer and backer, made the purchase possible.

“From what I’m told there’s only 15 in the world, 13 are in China and one is used in California for research so this is the only clinical scanner of this type in the United States,” Meijer said.

He was inspired to help create the center after being treated for prostate cancer in Germany and wanted to make similar care available and accessible in the United States.

“If you can get a child in here with heart disease or cancer and do a full body scan in one minute, less radiation, less sedation and a clearer image and eventually the cost should be able to come down because we can do so many more per hour,” Meijer said.

Dr. Aron Sousa, the dean of the MSU College of Human Medicine, sees the device as another step in advancing medicine along the Medical Mile in Grand Rapids.

“It’s a great opportunity to help diagnose people and provide therapy and you don’t have to go anywhere to do that. It’s just right here in West Michigan,” Sousa said.

Crews will install and begin testing the machine in the next couple weeks. It will then undergo additional testing from BAMF Health and state regulators.


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