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GE unveils next-generation small cyclotron at SNMMI

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | June 09, 2015
CT X-Ray
GE's GENtrace cyclotron
Radiotracers are an integral part of PET imaging, but some facilities are outside of radiopharmacies’ distribution network. To make radiotracers more readily available, GE Healthcare unveiled its TRACERcenter VIP package including its new small cyclotron, GENtrace, and FASTlab 2 PET tracer production solution at the SNMMI annual meeting.

“We see there a need to lower the cost to get access to PET,” Erik Strömqvist, general manager of GE Healthcare’s cyclotron business, told DOTmed News. GE estimates the cyclotron can be purchased — as well as maintained — for 25 percent less than conventional systems.

“It takes quite a high-competence team to operate a traditional cyclotron,” said Strömqvist. “We wanted to develop this to ensure that a nuclear technician could operate the cyclotron, chemistry and production.”

There has recently been increased regulation for PET radiopharmaceutical production in the U.S. with the introduction of Good Manufacturing Practice regulations. GE built GMP into the design of the solution so facilities won't need to fill out as much paperwork.

The radiopharmaceutical, Carbon-11, has a 20 minute half life, which means that it cannot be distributed by a radiopharmacy. But facilities can have ample access to it with the new package.

Unlike other small cyclotrons on the market, GENtrace can produce batches of doses. It is also a self-shielded system and Strömqvist believes that will make it easy for authorities to approve it for radiation protection.

Strömqvist said that the majority of SNMMI attendees had a very positive reaction to the new package but there were a few critics. “They have the view that the distribution of PET radiopharmaceuticals and FDG in particular is extremely effective here in developed markets and FDG is quite affordable,” he said.

The package does not require FDA approval but GE is working on getting CE marking.

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