Cancer scanning in New Zealand leaps forward

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Pacific Radiology in Wellington, New Zealand, has purchased a second PET/CT scanner from Cyclotek for $2.5 million to provide greater capacity, faster scanning and more detailed images with 64 CT slices.

With the purchase of the new scanner from Cyclotek, the primary supplier of PET radiopharmaceuticals and the first commercial operator of medical cyclotrons in Australia, has been encouraged enough to set up production of the isotope needed to identify the active cancer cells in New Zealand, as well as Australia, making the scan cheaper and far more readily available, the company said.

Until 2006, New Zealanders needed to go to Australia for this kind of scanning. Now, with the purchase of the first PET/CT scanner and a $5 million cyclotron, traveling to Australia is no longer necessary, according to Pacific Radiology.

“It has been very much a ‘chicken and egg’ situation, because our decision to expand the service has been encouraged by the Cyclotek announcement, which will ensure for us a continuing and increasing supply of FDG which is needed for the rapidly increasing workload,” said Trevor FitzJohn, MD, chairman of Pacific Radiology.

FitzJohn said the benefits of the local production are twofold: it will reduce the cost of scanning, given that a significant portion of the cost is due to the trans-Tasman transportation of FDG; and secondly, the Victoria, Australia-based Cyclotek will be capable of supplying other New Zealand operations from its Wellington base.