Cyclotron will enable Castle Hill to make radiotracers on demand

A charity that is working to develop ‘dose-on-demand’ radiotracers to enable improved detection and personalised treatment for patients with cancer, heart disease and dementia has taken a major step towards its goal with the delivery of PETCT scanning and research equipment to Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham.

Founder and chair of the Daisy Appeal Professor Nick Stafford said of the arrival of the 30 tonne GE Healthcare GenTRACE 600 cyclotron: “It is a very exciting day for the charity and the healthcare community in our region.”

The cyclotron components were transferred in a series of crane lifts over the roof of the administration building to a loading bay at the new Molecular Imaging Research Centre (MIRC). It will become operational early next year as the latest part of a project that Professor Stafford has been working on since he launched the Daisy Appeal in 2000.

PETCT cyclotron
The cyclotron is transferred from the lorry to the loading bay outside the MIRC.

University of Hull professor in molecular imaging Steve Archibald said the technology will maximise benefits to patients across East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire by making available a wide range of imaging and diagnostic techniques. He expects his team will be able to attract more clinical trials to the region.

The Daisy Appeal Medical Research Centre opened at Castle Hill Hospital in 2008 and was followed in 2014 by the opening of the Jack Brignall PET/CT Centre. With radiotracers having a short life-span, the charity’s vision was to raise funds for the MIRC and pursue a dose-on-demand approach by making its own isotopes. Once operational the centre will initially be able to produce the most commonly-used radiotracer fluorine-18. During the next two or three years the centre will also be able to produce Carbon-11 radiotracers, which have potential for neurological and cardiological use and will open up other opportunities.

The new building creates the opportunity for isotopes to be piped directly from the cyclotron to hot cells in the room next door, where the product will be processed, checked and then delivered through a hatch in the wall direct to the Jack Brignall PET/CT Centre for injection.

Professor Archibald said: “The technology from GE Healthcare matches our approach to dose-on-demand radiotracer production, which will make a wide range of imaging and diagnostic techniques available.”

Lead picture: Professor Steve Archibald and Professor Nick Stafford keep an eye on the delivery.

Published on the front page of the December 2021 issue of RAD Magazine.

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