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Grand Rapids is home to breakthrough PET scanner that detects cancer in one minute

Grand Rapids is home to the nations only total body PET Scan brings same day cancer diagnosis and treatment to the Medical Mile

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Another piece of the Medical Mile is now in place. 

Grand Rapids is now home to one of the nation's only total-body PET Scanners. It's located at Doug Meijer Medical Innovation Building on Monroe and is home to BAMF Health.

"We know and we don't afraid to make big things happen. And that's what I love about this community. And that's how we start,"  Dr. Anthony Chang began his vision for Bold Advanced Medical Future (BAMF) Health six years ago. 

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The idea? To bring the advancements made in cancer treatments under one roof and then innovate them.

"The thing a cancer patient doesn't have is time." This is why Dr. Chang and his colleagues have cut that diagnosis and treatment time in half actually, more than that. 

Most PET scans can take 20 to 45 minutes. Dr. Chang says this PET scan has the ability to give you a total body scan for cancer in just one minute. 

"So, we can use this in information to decide if you should use should receive these kind treatment, and also how much dose we should inject into you instead of just guessing."

 That therapy will happen within hours of receiving your PET scan. 

"It's a very precise, targeted specific type of cancer treatment, as opposed to some of the more general cancer care that we're used to," Dr. Brandon Mancini, the medical director for BAMF Health, said. He says the reason this can happen so quickly is because the radiopharmacy is located in the same building as the PET Scan. 

"We're going to be able to produce radiotracers that have not been able to be used clinically, and again, impact more people more quickly."

This advancement will make Grand Rapids a destination for not only cancer treatment but cancer research a fact that is not lost on Dr. Mancini. 

"And I think it's very realistic that we can approach cancer being a chronic disease for somebody as opposed to a death sentence."

Right now, the cancers they will be targeting are prostate, thyroid and neuroendocrine, but with plans to continue expanding the cancers they treat. 

This entire innovative project was made possible by a $19.5 million grant to MSU by Doug Meijer. It was his experience with a similar PET Scan in Germany for his stage 4 prostate cancer that catalyzed the project.

Dr. Chang convinced him to help fund BAMF Health and the innovative Pet Scan technology. 

"And it's like a drone, going through your body with a GPS with a light bulbs that lights up the cancer cells, and then putting radiation on the end of this drone and blows up those cancer cells, just those cancer cells, nothing else, virtually no side effects."

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It took six years for this vision to become a reality.

Dr. Mark Delano with Michigan State University says this would not be possible without the collaboration with BAMF Health, MSU and everyone involved. 

"We're becoming the referral center for best practices, so world class best practices coming out of Grand Rapids, Michigan who'd of thought that when I grew up, just down the street? I am really excited about that. So, I think we're touching a lot of different people and, and will have a big impact."

This new scanner brings same-day cancer diagnosis and treatment to Grand Rapids. It's helping healthcare move into a time where you will get your cancer diagnosis and treatment personalized to your tumor in just two hours and then you are on your way home.

BAMF Health is currently working with insurance companies to cover the treatment and expect to diagnose and treat their first patients this summer.

13 On Your Side Health Reporter Valerie Lego 

Val has been reporting on health and medical stories in West Michigan for 16 years. She is an 18-time Emmy Award Winner. Her health reporting credentials include fellowships from the National Institutes. of Health, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Contact me: vallego@13OnYourSide.com

Follow me  Twitter @valerielego Facebook @valerielego Instagram @val_lego

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