18FDG Synthesis and Supply: a Journey from Existing Centralized to Future Decentralized Models


Positron emission tomography (PET) as the functional component of current hybrid imaging (like PET/CT or PET/MRI) seems to dominate the horizon of medical imaging in coming decades. 18Flourodeoxyglucose(18FDG) is the most commonly used probe in oncology and also in cardiology and neurology around the globe.However, the major capital cost and exorbitant running expenditure of low to medium energy cyclotrons (about20 MeV) and radiochemistry units are the seminal reasons of low number of cyclotrons but mushroom growthpattern of PET scanners. This fact and longer half-life of 18F (110 minutes) have paved the path of a centralizedmodel in which 18FDG is produced by commercial PET radiopharmacies and the finished product (multi-dosevial with tungsten shielding) is dispensed to customers having only PET scanners. This indeed reduced the costbut has limitations of dependence upon timely arrival of daily shipments as delay caused by any reason resultsin cancellation or rescheduling of the PET procedures. In recent years, industry and academia have taken a stepforward by producing low energy, table top cyclotrons with compact and automated radiochemistry units (Labon-Chip). This decentralized strategy enables the users to produce on-demand doses of PET probe themselvesat reasonably low cost using an automated and user-friendly technology. This technological development wouldindeed provide a real impetus to the availability of complete set up of PET based molecular imaging at anaffordable cost to the developing countries.