UK launches national total body PET platform for drug discovery

A partnership between the Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Innovate UK will deliver scientific breakthroughs with the launch of a national total body PET imaging platform to drive drug discovery.

The National PET Imaging Platform (NPIP) will deploy total body PET in Scotland and London, bringing together transformational research from two state-of-the-art scanners supplied by Siemens Healthineers. The aim is to transform medical research and industrialise cutting-edge technology.

NPIP director of operations and engagement and MDC head of translational imaging Dr Juliana Maynard said: “The value of NPIP is huge for the UK life sciences sector, providing researchers with access to superior clinical data, not just from their own trials but from every research programme that joins the platform.

“It means that, collectively, we can power forward drug discovery with renewed confidence and drive world-leading capabilities in detection, diagnosis and treatment.”

With higher sensitivity than existing technology, NPIP’s total body PET scanners are expected to provide new insights into anatomy, improving detection, diagnosis and treatment of complex, multi-organ diseases. Total body PET scans expose patients to lower doses of radiation meaning more patients, including children, can participate in clinical trials to improve understanding of diseases. The speed of total body PET scanners means that NPIP will be able to facilitate more patient scans, enhancing the scale and impact of clinical research projects.

Picture: Demo of a total body PET scan. Credit: Inselspital Bern Switzerland.

See the full report on the front page of the November 2023 issue of RAD Magazine.

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