Minister Botha Opens New R15.6 Million PET/CT Centre at Tygerberg Hospital
On 19 April 2012, the Western Cape Government, NTP Radioisotopes (Pty) Ltd and its parent company Necsa (the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation) celebrated the official opening of the PET/CT Centre at Tygerberg Hospital. The R15.6 million Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) scanner was generously donated to the people of the Western Cape by NTP Radioisotopes.
The Western Cape Department of Health's contribution to this project is estimated at R14.75 million (R11 million for infrastructure and R3.75 million for equipment accessories).
Western Cape Health Minister Theuns Botha said, "The cost-saving implications of this technology are phenomenal, and also means that greater numbers of patients will be treated more appropriately, with improved outcomes for all. This is such a great example of the public and private sector working together for the well-being of the people of the Western Cape."
Don Robertson, NTP's Managing Director and acting CEO of Necsa, said: "NTP is in the business of actively enhancing lives and is really proud to have made an additional scanner available to the people of the Western Cape. This will now ease the strain of utilising the scanner at the Cape PET/CT Centre, where only two afternoon sessions per week were allocated to Tygerberg, Groote Schuur and Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital patients."
The first Western Cape patient had the privilege of utilising the brand-new scanner by undergoing the first scan in April. Although the patient was a little nervous about the scan and the eventual results, the patient thanked all parties for making this possible. Robertson explained that millions of patients throughout the world benefit from Nuclear Medicine scans and other procedures performed using products supplied by NTP. "Early detection of most diseases assisted by using Nuclear Medicine scans greatly enhances the possibility of early and accurate diagnosis. The commercially produced radioactive isotope known as molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) is used daily in procedures globally. This allows for prompt and proper treatment and, therefore, a better chance of enhancing the quality of care and saving lives."
Professor James Warwick of the Nuclear Medicine Department at Tygerberg Hospital and Project Leader explained: "This system met all of our main requirements as a dedicated Oncology machine with time-of-flight technology enabling low FDG doses, and its suitability for Radiotherapy planning including its large bore, and full integration with the existing PACS and Radiotherapy planning systems at the academic hospitals in the Western Cape. Clinically, this means more accurate detection, better image quality, detection of smaller lesions and makes it possible to scan more patients".
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a modern non-invasive medical molecular imaging technique used especially in the management of patients with cancer; it is also used in infection and inflammation, cardiology and neurology. The PET technique provides accurate diagnosis, staging and re-staging in certain cancers, and allows rapid evaluation of the efficacy of therapy. PET has led to changes in treatment options and the prevention of unnecessary surgical procedures in a significant number of patients.
The Computed Tomography (CT) scan shows the structure of the anatomy where changes are taking place. The PET/CT imaging combines two tests in one and provides a unique representation of what is happening on a molecular level in the body while accurately identifying its location.