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Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Radiotracer Service Center


Positron emission tomography (PET) is a highly sensitive, radionuclide-based molecular imaging modality for detecting and measuring receptors, transporters, enzymes, ion channels and other key biological mediators in relevant animal models and in human subjects.

Our Mission

Our mission is to lead in discovery, teaching and application of PET agents and methods for justly distributed and improved person-centric care. 

About PET

The Johns Hopkins PET radiotracer center has been in continuous operation since installation of our first cyclotron in 1983.  It is one of the premier centers for the discovery of new radiotracers, implementation of promising new radiotracer discovered elsewhere and for managing patients in our community.

PET is a molecular imaging technique that measures biochemistry noninvasively from preclinical studies in small animals to human beings. The technique works by detecting the annihilation of positrons that occur within living subjects after administration of a positron-emitting radiotracer that is targeted to a specific receptor, transporter, enzyme or antigen. The annihilation photons are detected as they arrive in coincidence at opposite detectors placed around the patient in the scanner. An image is reconstructed from the position of the detected photons as they leave the body creating an image of biochemical activity occurring at the diseae site and in the whole body. PET scanning has been a clinically valuable technique for both research and patient management since the 1980s.  However, it is only been within the last 20 years that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has reimbursed for clinical PET studies, making them widely available in the US.

Rarely are such advanced PET imaging studies performed alone. Currently, PET is performed in conjunction with computed tomography (CT) that provides anatomic information and the fused molecular and anatomic (CT) images are interpreted together as PET/CT studies. The majority of those studies utilize a positron-emitting form of glucose, known as fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), to check for tumor metabolism.  But there are many other such studies that we preform clinically to guide disease diagnosis and monitoring response to therapy, as detailed below:

  • FDG PET/CT for Oncologic Imaging, using the metabolic biomarker [18F]FDG to help diagnose cancer and detect the spread of cancer to other organs, as well measure the effectiveness of anti-cancer therapy.
  • Sodium Fluoride PET/CT for Bone Imaging, using the [18F]NaF, a highly sensitive bone-seeking PET tracer, to detect skeletal abnormalities.
  • FDG PET/CT for Brain Imaging, used to evaluate for cognitive impairment, dementia and seizure disorders.
  • AMYLOID PET/CT, using biomarkers such as [18F]florbetaben and [18F]florbetapir used to estimate amyloid plaque density in patients with cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of cognitive decline.
  • Myocardial Viability Imaging, uses [18F]FDG PET/CT to assess myocardial viability in patients with advanced coronary artery disease and left ventricular dysfunction.
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging, uses 13N-ammonia PET/CT for high-sensitivity detection of occlusive coronary artery disease, evaluation of the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions, and evaluation of quantitative myocardial flow reserve.
  • Inflammation and Infection Imaging, uses [18F]FDG PET/CT for detection of sarcoidosis, large-vessel vasculitis, implant related infections, and fever of unknown origin.
  •  [68Ga]Dotatate PET/CT  Imaging of somatostatin receptors for highly sensitive detection and treatment follow-up of neuroendocrine tumors.


[11C]DPA-713 PET in former NFL players

credit: Coughlin Neurobiol Dis 2015


(includes radiosynthesis)

  • PET scan slot: $1,225
  • HRRT brain BET slot: $2,025
  • Residual [18F] flouride: $150
  • Dedicated [18F] flouride: $500

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

Corina Voicu CNMT RT(CT)
PET Imaging Manager


Sridhar Nimmagadda, Ph.D.
Director, PET Center

Robert F. Dannals, Ph.D.
Director, PET Chemistry

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