The Department of Nuclear Medicine utilizes radioactive materials to diagnose the presence of disease in the body and to treat multiple types of cancer as well as conditions such as Graves’ disease.
Nuclear Medicine’s advanced imaging capabilities can identify changes in organ function. SPECT and PET are performed at the main campus and at selected Cleveland Clinic-affiliated hospitals. Hybrid SPECT/CT and PET/CT fusion imaging also is performed on specialized scanners that directly map the abnormal tissue physiology depicted on the nuclear images to the affected anatomic area displayed on the high-resolution CT images.
The department possesses an unusual depth of expertise, with Nuclear Medicine physicians, radiochemists and a physicist. Physicians are board-certified and clinically experienced in a broad array of specialties, including cardiology, neurology and radiology.
Nuclear Medicine’s Center for PET and Molecular Imaging (CPMI) recognizes that many cancer patients undergoing a PET scan have already had a CT scan; in the past, these scans were presented to the referring physician as separate reports. Through CPMI, however, these studies are performed and interpreted together by a team of cross-trained specialists, resulting in one integrated report for the referring physician that contains a cohesive assessment of the patient’s overall condition.
Patient therapy is a significant component of Nuclear Medicine. Treatments, and sometimes pain relief, are offered for conditions such as Graves’ disease, thyroid cancer, liver cancer, cancer that has spread to the bone and refractory lymphomas. PET/CT scans also assist radiation oncologists in planning treatment with external sources of radiation.
Nuclear Medicine staff shares a strong commitment to education, expressed through training of radiology residents and cardiology fellows.
Research focuses on the development of advanced instrumentation, cancer detection and non-invasive measurement of regional organ blood flow. At the cyclotron facilities, work continues on the development of novel radiotracers. The CPMI is participating in industry-sponsored clinical trials to evaluate new radiotracers.
The Nuclear Medicine staff is active in the Society of Nuclear Medicine, the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Radiology.
Manuel Cerqueira, MD
Chairman, Department of Nuclear Medicine