Success Story

Modular Positron Emission Tomography Detector

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a major diagnostic imaging tool used predominantly in clinical oncology for staging various cancers, assessing treatment strategies, and monitoring the effects of therapies. Emerging new diagnostic radiopharmaceutical agents that have applications in cardiology and neurology will further expand the use of PET.

A team of scientists from the medical, instrumentation and physics departments at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) have developed a compact modular PET detector. The technology is covered by four United States patents. The initial invention, named RatCAP (Rat Conscious Animal PET), allows the simultaneous study of neurochemistry and conscious movement. This high-tech, wearable PET scanner that monitor brain chemistry enables correlation of the brain’s chemical information with the awake animal’s activity. David Schlyer, one of the scientists who led the project said “The measurement of chemical messengers in the brain is important to understanding many different diseases and conditions such as drug addiction and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.”

The team has applied the same compact modular PET technology to produce PET scanners for various important preclinical and clinical imaging applications. The preclinical applications include PET insert for small animal research magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems that allows dual PET –MRI imaging. The clinical applications include the compact wrist PET scanner, a non-invasive tool to determine the arterial input function required in bringing quantitative PET to the bedside and the breast PET insert for breast MRI systems that facilitate functional evaluation of detected lesions to reduce the unnecessary biopsies of false positives.

SynchroPET, a Long Island, NY based startup company, entered into an option agreement with Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA) the contractor/operator of BNL to commercialize the technology. SynchroPET was the first BNL start- up that was formed under the DOE Startup America program. Recently, BSA has entered into a commercial license agreement with SynchroPET. The company anticipates entering the market with a product in 2016. SynchroPET’s website can be found at:

The initial RatCAP technology was developed with funding from the DOE Office of Science