Enhancing RCH care with the MR-PET

The Royal Children’s Hospital has become the first paediatric hospital in the southern hemisphere to install powerful MR PET scanning technology.

The nine tonne, $6 million Magnetic Resonance Positron Emission Tomography machine, or MR PET, was funded by community donations through the Good Friday Appeal.

The MR PET combines the most effective medical scanning procedures, Medical Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET), into one piece of equipment for the first time. This means patients undergo fewer scans and enjoy a more positive experience, while receiving the most accurate diagnosis.

The Impact of Giving

My name is Tim Cain and I’m a medical imaging specialist at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

The MR-PET is one of the newest and most expensive pieces of equipment the RCH has purchased recently. MR-PET is a combination of anatomical and metabolic imaging. The anatomical part tells us what something looks like, what a disease looks like, what a lump looks like and the metabolic imaging part of it tells us what it is doing how is it working?

This patient has a very complex problem with a number of lumps in their body and we’re trying to find out which is the most significant lump. So using the combination of the MR anatomical imaging and the PET metabolic imaging, we can find the lump that is most likely to be requiring treatment and require surgical intervention.

These days with modern therapies trying to target the treatment to children we often do a scan partway through their treatment to see if there’s been a response. The MR-PET study may indicate that less aggressive therapy is required, so some children who have a good response to the initial treatment they don’t require radiotherapy and that’s a decision that’s based on the PET scanner here at The Royal Children’s Hospital.

The most rewarding part of my job is the satisfaction of helping someone and making a difference and trying to make suffering minimized and enhance the treatment others provide.

I say thank you. I say thank you on behalf of the children who benefit. I thank you on behalf of the staff you get to use this equipment. I thank you on behalf of the doctors who are able to give better treatment for their patients and go home smiling more often.