This application requests a PET/CT imaging system for a group of investigators at the University of California Berkeley (UCB), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), University of California San Francisco and the University of California Davis. Ten major users are supported by 10 R01s, 2 P01s and considerable additional NIH, federal and foundation grants for PET research. The group has used the existing LBNL research-dedicated PET camera for years, and has collaborated on issues related to funding, operations, data analysis, and subject transportation. However, the current camera is outdated, no longer supported by the manufacturer, and suffers from frequent and prolonged downtime related to failures and difficulty obtaining parts. The request is for a modern camera that will support both the primary application of neuroscience research as well as multiple other applications. The scanner is configured to provide optimal image acquisition and research flexibility but without expensive clinical options that are unnecessary for the research program. The environment is strong, with existing complementary equipment including a 1.5T MR system and a SPECT/CT system at LBNL and a 3T MR system on the UCB campus. A medical cyclotron at LBNL operated by a radiochemistry research group, produces a wide variety of radiopharmaceuticals for human and animal use. The research group also has a long history of excellence in PET and imaging technology and has experience with the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of prototype PET cameras as well as PET data analysis. Use of the instrument will be overseen by an operations group comprised of technical staff and scientists who are expert in software support/data analysis, radiochemistry and hardware support. This group will operate the scanner, provide quality control, monitor usage, and assure training of all users as well as compliance with human, animal, and radioisotope regulations. A users group will assist in the development of protocols and will provide the interface between the operations group and users. The institution (LBNL) has committed support for any necessary renovations in siting the instrument, and will operate a recharge facility for financial administration. Current usage is adequate to support the cost of operations, a service contract, and minimal staffing with a relatively modest hourly charge. The entire project will be overseen by an executive committee with responsibility for ensuring access, promoting the use of the instrument, managing conflicts, ensuring training, and generation of continued extramural support.
Imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) has reached a level of maturity that permits the investigation of a host of biochemical processes that are related to human health and may reveal the fundamental processes underlying human disease. This PET scanner will permit a group of investigators to continue their productive research, and will help to create jobs through the continuing manufacture of scanners in the US as well as the development and support of a scientific infrastructure that employs technical and scientific workers.