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Radiology (Nuclear Medicine)

  • Teruki Sone, M.D., Ph.D. Professor
INDEX :  Main Areas and Themes of Research    Clinical Features
       Educational Features    Block Lectures

Main Areas and Themes of Research

Recently, diagnostic imaging techniques have progressed markedly. They are useful for the diagnosis of disease, evaluation of pathophysiology, and assessment of therapeutical effects. In particular, diagnosis by nuclear medicine is a unique modality that can provide images of the blood flow and metabolism of cells, tissues and organs, while other modalities provide aspects of morphological changes. Nuclear medicine has the ability to make both qualitative and quantitative assessments, and has characteristics by which images of biochemical and physiological processes can be produced. Nuclear medicine provides important information for the early detection and activity of disease, and for diagnosis and prognosis, all of which are applicable to staging and preventive medicine.

Active research activities include expanded applications of skeletal nuclear medicine, cerebral perfusion SPECT, FDG-PET/CT, and the evaluation of dementia.

Themes of Research:
  • Development and clinical application of new bone markers
  • Longitudinal study of bone mass in the Japanese population
  • Biomechanical study of bone in osteoporosis
  • Integration of functional and morphological assessment in skeletal diseases
  • Quantitative imaging of cerebral perfusion and metabolism
  • Study of the mechanism of occurrence of bone loss under an unloading condition

Clinical Features

Approximately 7,000 nuclear medicine procedures are performed annually by the department. There are two dual-headed SPECT cameras, one four-headed SPECT camera, two state-of-the-art PET/CT scanners, as well as bone densitometers. The diagnostic nuclear medicine services include in vivo imaging and therapeutic nuclear medicine, which utilize unsealed radioisotope sources.

The department of nuclear medicine provides the following services:
Diagnostic Tests:
  • Various scintigraphic studies
  • Bone densitometry (DXA, QUS, pQCT)
Therapy Treatments:
  • Thyroid: Hyperthyroidism
  • Bone: Pain palliation in cancer patients
  • Osteoporosis

Educational Features

The educational emphases include learning basic principles of nuclear medicine, understanding the mechanism of tracer accumulation based on biochemistry and physiology, and interpretation of disease-specific scintigraphic findings.

The issues which medical students will learn about from the third to fifth years are described below.

  • Basic principles: radiopharmaceuticals, physics of nuclear medicine, radiation detection, and instrumentation
  • Central nervous system: cerebral perfusion scintigraphy, cisternography, and PET (perfusion imaging, metabolic imaging, and receptor imaging)
  • Cardiovascular system: myocardial perfusion (201Tl, 99mTc- sestamibi, and 99mTc-tetrofosmin), sympathetic nerve distribution (123I-MIBG), fatty acid metabolism (123I-BMIPP), and glucose metabolism (18F-FDG)
  • Endocrine system: thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal gland (cortex and medulla)
  • Respiratory system: ventilation and perfusion scintigraphy
  • Musculoskeletal system: bone scintigraphy and bone densitometry
  • Gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and hematopoietic systems
  • Nuclear oncology: 67Ga, 201Tl, 99mTc-sestamibi, peptide receptor, and monoclonal antibody imaging; FDG-PET
  • Radioisotope therapy: hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, and palliation of bone pain
  • Pediatric nuclear medicine and molecular nuclear medicine