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The BrainPET is a PET insert for a 3T MRI scanner that provides simultaneous PET/MR imaging capacity. The BrainPET is currently under development with the aim of providing a higher PET spatial resolution and sensitivity than commercially available whole-body hybrid systems. A custom 32-channel coil will allow for high-resolution MR images, and can be integrated with major vendors’ MRI scanners. As a removable insert, the BrainPET can be used as needed and stored when not in use; the insert and its docking station will be fully MR-safe and can be kept in the magnet room. Cubresa’s propriety acquisition and reconstruction software will provide users with the flexible, high-quality data for research and clinical applications, and can be visualized on any commercial data visualization software.


BrainPET system components:

  • BrainPET insert (integrated PET ring and removable Rf coil in a rolling cylinder)
  • Docking station (houses electronics and insert when not in use)
  • Acquisition/Reconstruction workstation located in the MR console room
  • Custom 68Ge calibration and normalization phantoms

BrainPET is undergoing investigational testing and is not yet available for commercial sale. Potential future clinical applications include:

  • Personalized medicine (eg., therapy monitoring)
  • Brain tumour assessment and management (eg., pre-surgical planning to avoid eloquent cortex, post-resection monitoring and lesion detection and discrimination)
  • Alzheimer’s dementia screening and diagnosis (eg., screening towards pre-symptomatic detection, early diagnosis towards improved treatment outcomes)
  • Epilepsy assessment and treatment (eg., identification of seizure foci, pre-surgical planning)
  • Psychiatric illness assessment and management (eg., dopamine uptake characterization in depressive disorders)
  • Study of chronic pain (eg., characterization of selective opioid neurotransmission)
  • Study of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (eg., characterization of changes in the brain due to glial activation and resultant pathologies)

INVESTIGATIONAL DEVICE NOT AVAILABLE FOR COMMERCIAL SALE Clinical use pending FDA 510(K) and Health Canada approvals

General Information

Perron JR, McIntosh BJ, Leggett S, Palmer VL, Herrera SL, Armstrong K, Stecina K, Martin M. Multi-modal PET-MR imaging of the selective activation of serotonergic neurons in living rodent brains with DREADD technology. Manitoba Poster Competition, Canadian Student Health Research Forum, August 21, 2020.

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Van Elburg D, Shrestha R, and Goertzen AL. Towards a second-generation PET/MR insert with enhanced timing and count rate performance. Physics in Medicine and Biology. 2019 Mar 12. doi:

PET/MRI evaluation of white matter inflammation in a co-morbid rat model of ischemic stroke and Alzheimer’s disease (and others)

Jonathan Thiessen, Ph.D., Director, PET/MRI Program, Lawson Health Research Institute, Assistant Professor, Depts. of Medical Biophysics and Medical Imaging, Western University.

Matthew S. Fox, Ph.D., Preclinical Imaging Physicist, Lawson Health Research Institute Research Associate, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Western University By helping to advance hybrid PET/MRI and multi-parametric diagnostic imaging tools, we hope to give new insight into the early biomarkers of disease and improve diagnosis and therapy in patients. Projects at a glance: PET/MRI…