Cancer research and treatment for the region’s pets and people got a boost when a new computed tomography (CT) scanner was delivered to the Health Sciences and Technology Campus in Roanoke.

The Somatom Confidence RT Pro scanner uses a combination of two-dimensional X-rays and advanced computation to produce three-dimensional images of organs, bones, and other tissues. 

If cancer is present, the scanner will allow veterinarians and researchers at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and the new Virginia Tech Animal Cancer Care and Research Center to visualize tumors from many angles, meaning improved diagnosis and staging for treatment planning, better understanding of the biology of cancers, and development of potential new therapies.

“This state-of-the-art CT equipment will support patient health care and multiple aspects of biomedical research at Virginia Tech to address important questions about normal function, disease processes, and for the improving delivery of precision-guided therapies,” said Michael Friedlander, executive director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and vice president for health sciences and technology at Virginia Tech. “Not only will the instrumentation facilitate translational research for future benefits, it will also provide immediate access to precise image registration for potentially life-saving radiation treatments of companion animals with cancer.” 

According to Gregory Daniel, interim dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, “The scanner is an especially critical instrument at the new cancer center, because in addition to diagnosing cancer, it can be used alongside our linear accelerator to precisely define the areas targeted for radiation treatments.”

This technology will be available to researchers at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and across the Virginia Tech campus, providing a unique opportunity for advancing understanding of cancer in pets and in people.