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Medical imaging based on positron emission tomography (PET) is a key element of modern patient care in oncology.  PET requires the administration of a radionuclide-containing imaging agent to the patient.  Such imaging agents are prepared in the radiopharmacies of medical imaging centres from reagent kits that are used in combination with automated synthetic units.

Recently, researchers of the Department of Oncology, University of Alberta, have developed an improved radiopharmaceutical process for the preparation of the PET tracer 18F-FAZA, which will extend the utility of PET to other diseases and medical conditions.  This tracer is now a step closer to broad adoption in clinical practice thanks to an agreement that TEC Edmonton negotiated between the University of Alberta and Trasis SA, a leading developer of equipment and kits for the preparation of radiopharmaceuticals.

Through years of research and development encompassing validation in clinical trials, 18F-FAZA is shown to be the PET tracer of choice for the diagnosis and staging of hypoxic solid tumors in a variety of cancers such as Stage II/III lung, head & neck, as well as cervix cancer.

Furthermore this tracer could find application in other indications demonstrating hypoxia such as chronic head injury/concussion, myocardial infarction, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatic disorders and diabetes (hypoxia = a pathological condition in which the body or a region of the body is deprived of an adequate oxygen supply).

Recent patented improvements in the preparation process of 18F-FAZA have increased commercial viability and improved production safety. Researchers in the Department of Oncology of the University of Alberta, Canada, and Belgium-based Trasis SA are now collaborating to bring this process and the kits for 18F-FAZA manufacture to the market.

Market introduction will offer:

  1. drug developers a new tool to validate drug effectiveness for indications involving tissue hypoxia (solid tumors, Alzheimer’s, arthritis)
  2. the radiopharmacists and nuclear medicine researchers with a commercially viable and controlled manufacturing process for clinical trials
  3. clinicians and patients more accurate methods for diagnosis in these indications