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UC Davis Health creates first full body PET scanner

UC Davis Health created the first full body PET scanner in the world. Now they need people from various ethnic backgrounds to volunteer for a scan.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — UC Davis Health created the first full body PET scanner in the world.

It’s called Explorer and can perform a positron emission tomography scan, or PET scan for short, in a short period of time to search for cancer and diseases as well as other things in the body.

“One of the studies that’s currently being conducted is to kind of track the flow or the impact of COVID-19 in the body. So it’s not just cancer, but it’s other chronic diseases. It’s just a matter of looking at various possibilities,” project lead Moon Chen said.

Explorer started scanning patients in 2019. It’s seen more than 1,000 since, mostly those with cancer, but those who got the scans do not represent the whole population. UC Davis says it needs a diverse group of healthy patients to compare scans to.

“It’s very important that we are able to compare patients at the same race and ethnicity with people who don’t have the disease, so we can figure out what is normal and what is abnormal,” Chen said. “We need to do that for all races and ethnicities.”

UC Davis Health is looking to recruit help from the community. It needs 20 people from these ethnic groups:

  • Black/African American
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • Asian American/Pacific Islander
  • Alaska Native/American Indian

 Volunteers would need to come in for two visits. The first to better explain the study and the second is for the scan.

“The fact that Sacramento is such a microcosm of diversity in the country makes it a perfect place for conducting this study,” Chen said.

 If you would like to sign up you can contact study coordinator Lynda Painting at Lpainting@ucdavis.edu or call her at 916 731-9004.

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