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Molecular Imaging Homepage

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Rick Rippin

New technologies to help expand PET/CT imaging in emerging markets

An editorial by Rick Rippin

PET/CT is an important modality today in oncology, and there has been a robust growth in the installation of cyclotrons and PET/CT scanners in developed countries, where the strategy has been to establish centralized radiopharmacies to supply 18FDG to facilities within a distribution grid.

Establishing a conventional cyclotron can be complex due to the significant infrastructure and equipment costs, and the demand for specialized support.
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In emerging markets, this centralized distribution model is much more difficult due to economic challenges and transportation logistics. A trend towards smaller and simpler solutions has progressed, with companies offering “table top” cyclotrons with compact and automated radiochemistry units This decentralized strategy enables the users to produce on-demand doses 18FDG and other tracers using an automated and user-friendly technology, providing availability at an affordable cost to these developing countries.

One example is the BG-75 “Dose on Demand” Biomarker Generator from ABT Molecular Imaging. The company offers a 7.5Mev cyclotron with simplified single or small batch 18FDG production, and automated quality control. The solution has made it economically feasible to implement in-house radiopharmaceutical production. For example, Fundacion Valle de Lili Hospital in Cali, Columbia, was having FDG transported via airlines from a city >400 km away at considerable cost. By implementing the first Biomarker Generator System in Colombia, they were able to reduce their 18FDG costs, and expand their scheduling.

Another example can be found in the largest island in Southeast Asia. With a population of 18 million citizens, Borneo had no access to PET/CT due to lack of access to 18FDG. Borneo Medical Center used an existing 35 m2 space in their hospital to install the Biomarker Generator System, and is now the first provider to offer PET/CT.

While having economical, on-demand access to 18FDG is most important for emerging markets to initiate PET/CT, the capability to produce other more specific tracers is equally important. German Oncology Center, who also installed the first Biomarker Generator and PET/CT on the island of Cyprus, is a highly specialized, private oncology center. They not only produce 18FDG, but also other important tracers such as PSMA for prostate imaging, and FET for brain tumor imaging.

The global growth of PET/CT may well be accelerated by this decentralized approach, where hospitals and health care providers can produce on-demand doses of PET radiopharmaceuticals by installing this type of compact, automated, and user-friendly system.

About the author: Rick Rippin is the sales director for ABT Molecular Imaging

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