Stockholm, Sweden – 19 December 2014 – GE Healthcare has signed one of the largest and most complete cyclotron and radiochemistry system agreements in the world with Stockholm County Council and Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden. GE Healthcare will be building a complete tracer production facility center for the hospital that will significantly expand its capacity to manufacture PET tracers, a fundamental element in PET scanning that is most commonly used in the diagnosis and assessment of cancer. With the new center the hospital will achieve three to four times higher PET tracer production capacity compared to today, and it will support the development of new tracers.
The production facility will give the physicians and patients at Karolinska University Hospital readily available access to all commonly used PET tracers in clinical practice. The main area of application of the produced tracers is cancer treatment - by injecting a small amount of PET tracer into a patient followed by a PET scan, potential ‘hot spots’ can be revealed, the parts in the patient’s body where the distribution of tracers can be used for the assessment of metabolic activity associated with cancer.
“The wider availability of PET imaging technology and its benefits for early diagnosis and staging of diseases has grown the interest and demand for new PET tracers. We are entering a new era in molecular medicine with targeted tracers for specific diseases and personalized treatment pathways. The new centre at Karolinska will help them improve patient care,” said Karl Blight, General Manager, GE Healthcare, Northern Europe.
Besides cancer, the tracers can be used in the mapping and treatment of cardiovascular and neurological diseases, and they have an increasingly important role especially in Alzheimer’s, dementia and brain research.
The new tracer center includes two PETtrace 800 Series Cyclotron systems (for cyclotron production), 20 hot cells supporting radiation safety for personnel when they are using the equipment and fully automated and easily programmable TRACERlab* FX series chemistry synthesizers that will enable the hospital to monitor the tracer production remotely. The agreement also includes a FASTlab* Platform for multi-tracer production that makes the production of different tracers on the same hardware possible.
Karolinska University Hospital will also receive a broad range of technical trainings over the entire contract period and resources for joint innovation projects. The contract is signed to cover delivery, installation and qualification of the equipment, warranty and service contracts for three years, with an option to be extended by further two two year periods.
*Trademark of General Electric Company
Uppsala is home to the global headquarters of GE Healthcare’s cyclotron unit, where cyclotrons are developed, manufactured and serviced by more than 100 employees. In addition, GE Healthcare Life Sciences has around 1200 employees in Uppsala, of which over 450 people are working with production and research & development. It is a center of expertise in protein science and creates technology that pharmaceutical companies can use in the production of biopharmaceuticals, such as insulin, antibodies and vaccines.
About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world. GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter - great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.