IWK Health lab using PET scanner for COVID-19 research

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The IWK has been named the site for the installation of a NuPET Bio imaging system, the first in the world specifically designed for infectious disease research in Bio Safety Lab 3 (BSL3) environments. The positron emission tomography (PET) system will be used for COVID-19 research.

“Siting this new PET scanner in the BSL3 lab will let Maritime researchers pursue ground-breaking research in COVID-19 and other emerging viruses,” says Dr. Kim Brewer, Staff Scientist BIOTIC, IWK Health. “By developing and using new imaging technologies we can learn a lot more about how the immune system interacts with viruses, resulting in safer and better vaccines and therapies.”

Cubresa, a Canadian designer and manufacturer of clinical and preclinical PET systems, received a contract through Innovative Solutions Canada to test its NuPET Bio scanner in a biosafety lab focused on COVID-19 research. The Biomedical Translational Imaging Centre (BIOTIC) at IWK Health will test the equipment on behalf of the Public Health Agency of Canada, who has provided support for this initiative.

“Having this new imaging system located at IWK Health speaks to the world-class research teams situated here,” says Dr. Jeannie Shoveller, Vice President, Research & Innovation at IWK Health. “Collaboration amongst researchers, clinicians and other healthcare experts, as well as industry, will be key in the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.”

The small, lightweight, and portable PET scanner is specifically designed to be used in biocontainment facilities. The equipment can be easily set up for scanning and then stored when not in use.