Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

In collaboration with the University of British Columbia, Lions Gate Hospital, the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre, and the BC Cancer Agency, TRIUMF participates in a world-renowned PET research program.

PET imaging is used in researching biochemical changes associated with brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and psychiatric disorders, and in diagnosing a range of diseases, including cancer, neurological disorders, and cardiac disease. The PET procedure involves administering to the patient a radioactive tracer that concentrates in specific areas of the body (e.g. in tumours), allowing the PET machine to detect the radiation and construct an image of the chemical processes in that area. A PET scan provides an image of the functional details (e.g. metabolic processes) of the body, whereas an X-ray or a CT scan shows only structural details (e.g. bone and cartilage). This joint PET program conducts leading-edge research into Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and lysosomal storage diseases like Gaucher disease, Tay Sachs disease, and Hurler syndrome (MPS1). The production of the radioactive tracers for the imaging experiments takes place at TRIUMF, and a number of TRIUMF scientists and personnel are involved in this and other aspects of the program.

For more information please visit the PET website.