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News

Siemens begins molecular imaging biomarker production in India

Siemens Healthcare USA : 27 March, 2008  (Company News)
Siemens Healthcare has introduced its first molecular imaging biomarker production facility in Chennai, India.
The new facility will enable the healthcare providers in and around Chennai to access the positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) technology to diagnose patients with life-threatening diseases, such as cancer and cardiac and neurological ailments. With the facility, Siemens makes another investment in strengthening critical healthcare infrastructure in the country to elevate the level of available healthcare services.

Petnet Solutions, a fully owned subsidiary of Siemens Medical Solutions USA, operates the largest PET radiopharmacy network with 49 radiopharmacies and distribution centers in the USA, Korea and the United Kingdom that produce and distribute PET radiopharmaceuticals to hospitals, clinics, and research facilities for PET imaging.

The new facility in Chennai will produce and supply the required radiopharmaceuticals to hospitals that have positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) facilities, which will help ease the burden of healthcare providers to produce their own radiopharmaceuticals. As a result, the new facility will also help reduce the cost of nuclear medicine and expand its reach to a wider community.

The new facility will feature a Siemens Eclipse HP cyclotron and will be Siemens' first molecular imaging Biomarker production facility in India. The Eclipse cyclotron will be deployed to manufacture fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), the imaging Biomarker used in PET-CT facilities to assist with diagnosis and staging of disease processes and to monitor cellular response to treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

'As advancements in molecular imaging move forward, it is imperative that this technology is made available to everyone in order to better diagnose and treat life-threatening diseases,' said Michael Reitermann, chief executive officer, Molecular Imaging, Siemens Healthcare. Being able to offer this PET technology to the residents of Chennai and the surrounding community is a giant step in making this dream a reality.'

Currently, there is no PET-CT in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu due to a critical lack of F18-FDG, which has a half-life of only 110 minutes (losing half of its radioactivity every 110 minutes) and, hence, cannot be imported or transported long distances.

The new cyclotron will guarantee reliable delivery of PET radiopharmaceuticals and will vastly increase availability of FDG, which means that many more patients in Chennai and nearby areas will have access to world-class PET-CT imaging. For cancer patients, this will allow for earlier lesion detection and differential diagnosis of primary cancers, which is important for treatment and disease management.

Speaking on this initiative, Dhandapany Ragavan, head, Siemens Medical Solutions, India, said, 'In India, over one million people are diagnosed with cancer every year. There is a growing need among the healthcare providers to access the latest technology in fighting this life-threatening disease. We are proud to be pioneers in bringing this life-saving technology to India through our world-renowned Petnet Solutions. This technology helps characterise the biology of disease in individual patients and helps to drive the development and use of more effective personalised treatments. Apart from Chennai, we are also considering expanding this network to other parts of the country.'

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