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[2019/05/03]The First PET-CT Scanner in Taiwan Campus to be Used to Diagnose Animal Cancers is Set up on NYMU and will be used to Assist Veterinarians

NYMU “Creative Translational Animal Imaging (CTAI)” Animal PET-CT Center Opening Press Conference


Human patients regularly use "Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography" (PET-CT) as a way of checking for cancer, but veterinarians lack this high-end and valuable medical equipment when diagnose animal cancers. National Yang-Ming University officially established the “Creative Translational Animal Imaging, CTAI" on April 1st. The positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) center will now allow pets to receive high-level imaging examinations. This will greatly assist veterinarians when they are diagnosing cancer in their animal patients.


PET-CT is able to accurately identify organs in the body that show abnormal metabolic functioning, especially when cancer is screened for at an early stage, when staging cancers, when tracking for relapse, and when evaluation of effectiveness of treatment. Many medical institutions have even listed PET-CT as one of the most important advanced health technique when investigating patients. Although humans have this type of high-end medical imaging service easily available, most veterinary hospitals do not have such an instrument.


Pets have many diseases that are highly similar to those found in humans and they can also suffer from cancer. In fact, the probability of a dog or a cat suffering from cancer have been estimated to be as being as high as 54% during their lifetime, which is equivalent to one in every two pets. The common tumor types include osteosarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, lymphoma, angiosarcoma, breast cancer, and others. There are currently about 2.5 million pets in Taiwan and as pets become more and more common members of families, veterinarians urgently need tools to help cancer diagnosis.


The positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) instrument allows high-level imaging examinations of pets


"Pets don't speak, so they need these types of instruments to help with their diagnosis." Professor Wu of Department of Biomedical Imaging and Radiological Sciences remarked that pets have many similar diseases to humans, and the causes of cancers are similar in both pets and humans, including their genes, hormones, living environment, diet, age, etc. Since universities are not generally attached to veterinary hospitals, an owner must first take their pet to a veterinary hospital for evaluation, and then have the veterinarian decide whether to use imaging for diagnosis.


In addition to assisting the owner, the pet and the veterinarian, Wu said that the development of new drugs, research on specific diseases and medical instrument testing all need to be simulated using animal models. Nevertheless, many of the variables present in the real environment are unable to be fully simulated in the laboratory. For example, the homology between the microenvironment of a tumor and its host is impossible to simulate in a laboratory. Pet cancers develop naturally in a complete immune system, which means pets may become one of the most popular immunotherapy reference models. At the same time as providing an accurate diagnosis for cancer affecting a pet, one will also be able to obtain useful clinical information that is from a real-life environment. Understanding pet diseases thus will increase our understanding of human diseases. With adherence to the philosophy approaches used in both animal and human medicine, implementing the use of positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) in the field of veterinary medicine is a win-win situation for both animals and humans from a medicine perspective.



  President Guo, President Wu and Professor Wu at the opening ceremony of the "Creative Translational Animal Imaging” (CTAI) PET-CT Center