Open-source Software Delivers 3-way (PET/CT/MR) Image Fusion

Rob Skelding | | April 25, 2008

There is a growing tendency for MR images to be viewed in combination with PET and/or CT in the quest for more accurate -- and therefore more useful -- diagnoses of complex diseases. While hybrid PET/MR machines have yet to reach the market, a new open-source software application offers radiologists a way to create three-way PET/CT/MR image fusion.

Radiologists normally rely on external markers when attempting to match clinical PET and MR images. However, the fuzziness of standard PET scans and the difficulty of coregistering images created by different machines at different times often complicate the process.

But Swiss researchers have developed an inexpensive and user-friendly image registration capability based on the free-to-download OsiriX software platform, and they presented their application at the 2008 European Congress of Radiology (ECR) in Vienna.

"Matching CT with MR is relatively simple. The challenge comes when fusing a PET image with an MR image that was acquired at a different time, on a different scanner, and at a different orientation -- which is a typical medical case," said Dr. Osman Ratib, the chair of radiology and head of nuclear medicine at the University Hospital of Geneva.