Our center was established in 2006 as an imaging center for healthcare under the direct management of Nippon Medical School for the purpose of improving front-line imaging diagnostic technology and promoting preventive medicine. Since many doctors at Nippon Medical School specialize in nuclear medicine, we have excellent people and techniques for performing Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans.
The principles of PET scanning differ from those of CT and MRI, both of which obtain anatomical information using tomography. In PET scanning, a radioactive tracer is used to obtain physiological and functional information. PET scanning performed to detect cancer makes use of the “Warburg effect,” in which cancer cells have a highly active glucose metabolism. When the radioactive substance F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), whose molecular structure is similar to that of glucose (sugar), is injected into the bloodstream, it is drawn into cancer cells as an energy source like glucose. Gamma rays emitted by the FDG are detected by PET scanning. In PET imaging, tissues with a high sugar metabolism (such as cancer and inflammation) are imaged as areas of increased uptake compared to normal tissues.
With PET scanning, screening with a higher precision than that of CT and MRI usually becomes possible. PET scanning can detect small cancers that had been regarded as difficult to detect with existing methods at their early stages, and because almost the whole body can be checked with one scan, there is a benefit that the metastasis or recurrence of cancer tissues is easily detected. Furthermore, diagnosing if a tumor is benign or malignant is possible while observing the distribution of FDG with the passage of time, and PET scanning is characterized by little physical strain or feelings of discomfort.
In PET scanning, a radiologist performs “radiologic interpretation,” in which the distribution of the agent used is interpreted. Since the doctor must diagnose diseases of the whole body from images, the precision of radiologic interpretation largely depends on the knowledge, experience, and ability of the doctor who does the interpretation.
Our center has an academic backbone, and thus the number of scans we have performed is high and the time spent scanning is also long. Moreover, a strong point of our center is that we have experience with many diseases including cancer, and we are associated with the study and development of drugs used in scanning and diagnosis. PET images are interpreted by fully experienced and specialized doctors at the university hospital, which enables us to perform high-precision scanning.
Our center performs approximately 3,000 to 4,500 PET scans a year, and the detection rate of cancer in the scans performed by the end of 2013 was more than 2.3%. Furthermore, 96% of those cancers were detected in their early stages. Among these cancers, lung cancer was 34%, colon cancer was 19%, head and neck cancer including the thyroid gland was 13%, gynecologic cancer was 13%, and breast cancer was 10%.
Our center has had a higher than average interest in the globalization of medicine, and we have a well-established system whereby we accept international patients as well as Japanese patients.
In recent years, the PET scanning at our center has been receiving attention from overseas countries like China, and many patients who wish to receive a PET scan visit our center. We currently accept 200 to 300 international patients every year, and there have been a number of cases in which a lesion was found in the scanning and the patient was referred to the university hospital for treatment.
Moreover, the preparation of informed consent forms, medical interpretation, and so on, are performed by full-time contractors with a full understanding of our center’s facilities, procedures, and policies, all of which leads to smooth coordination. To make the atmosphere one in which international patients who visit our center from a great distance can undergo scanning while feeling comfortable and relaxed, we have devoted attention to our institution’s lighting and furnishings, the services that we provide, and so on.
|External View of Our Hospital||PET Scanning||Radiologic Interpretation
Fully experienced radiologists at the university hospital make diagnoses based on the images obtained by PET scanning.
|Established 2006 (The university hospital was opened in 1910)|
(A) Total body PET scanning; (B) Total body PET scan + Cranial MRI scan + Tumor markers + Blood test; (C) Total body PET scan + Tumor markers + Blood test; (D) Total body PET scan + Cranial MRI scan; (E) Total body PET scan + Cranial MRI scan + Tumor markers + Blood test + Brain PET scan = A total of 5 courses are available.
As optional tests, blood tests for thyroid function, blood tests for infectious diseases, blood coagulation tests, tumor marker tests, transnasal esophagogastroduodenoscopy, and abdominal ultrasound are available.
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1-12-15 Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0022 (50 meters from the university hospital)
|10 minutes on foot from Sendagi Station
on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line
10 minutes on foot from Todaimae Station
on the Tokyo Metro Nanboku Line
|50 minutes by car from Tokyo International Airport (Haneda Airport) 90 minutes by car from Narita International Airport|