Medical Imaging: Molecular Imaging and Theranostics (Nuclear Medicine, PET/CT)

What is molecular imaging and theranostics?

Nuclear Medicine at St. Joseph's has been renamed Molecular Imaging and Theranostics to better reflect the sophistication, growing expertise, scope of care and evolving possibilities within this medical imaging specialty. 

Molecular imaging and theranostics combines precision imaging and targeted treatment options. Molecular imaging provides detailed imaging at the molecular level and theranostics is a term that combines the words therapeutics and diagnostics.

Together, molecular imaging and theranostics is a two-pronged approach to diagnosing and treating cancers and other diseases that pairs imaging with the use of small amounts of radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals. These substances are attracted to specific organs, bones or tissues, which, in turn, are detected by special types of cameras. 

The use of radiopharmaceuticals can not only identify the location and extent of diseased tissues but also selectively destroy the abnormal cells while leaving surrounding healthy cells undamaged. This treatment (theranostics) aspect of care does not yet take place at St. Joseph’s but is on the horizon.

At St. Joseph’s, the molecular imaging and theranostics specialty includes the use of gamma cameras, PET/CT, and SPECT/CT. The nuclear medicine physician selects the most appropriate exam for each patient.

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