In this Section:
We are equipped with the Cyclone 18/9 cyclotron, from IBA, that includes both a hydrogen and deuterium ion source. The cyclotron is equipped with a F-18 target, O-15 gas target, C-11 gas target and a Solid target system for production of I-124, Zr-89, Cu-64 and Yr-89. Additionally we also have a Gallium-68 generator. Therefore we are able to produce a wide range of radiotracers, such as 18F-FDG, 68Ga-Dotatate, 68Ga-PSMA, 18F-Fluorocholine, 89Zr labelled antibodies, 11C PiB, 11C- PK11195, Fluorinated amyloid tracers such as AV45 and AV133.
We operate with three state of the art PET/CT scanners. The Phillips Ingenuity 128 and Ingenuity 64 are used for clinical scans and the Gemini TF 64 is used largely for neuroscience research scans. We are able to perform high resolution scans to answer the clinical question asked, in a relatively quick time, enabling a high patient throughput.
The PET/CT image and report is available via PACS within Austin Health and available via Health Link and Xero for external referrers. We also have the option of sending hard copies to our external referrers.
At the Austin, PET scanning commenced in 1992 performing about 20 PET scans per month. The service has now built up to over 5000 scans per year, mainly in the areas of Oncology, Dementia and Epilepsy. The principal use of PET in clinical practice is in oncology, with 80% of clinical scans being in cancer patients, and the remainder in neurology (epilepsy and dementia).
18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) continues to be the main radiotracer in use for characterising a range of tumours and to monitor the effects of various forms of therapy. There has been a steady increase in indications approved by Medicare for PET scans so most of the scans do not impose a charge to the patient. However there can be charges levied for certain unfunded indications and these are decided on a case by case basis.
18F-FDG PET is used to assist in the selection of patients for surgical treatment of epilepsy, especially temporal lobe epilepsy.
18F-FDG PET plays in important role in the evaluation of dementia and in discriminating between certain dementias such as Alzheimers Disease and Fronto Temoporal Dementia and Diffuse Lewy Body Disease.
The research programs are focussed in the neuroscience and oncology areas, with specific emphasis on cognitive decline, tumour biology and psychiatry. We are internationally renowned for our 11C and 18F ligand research for studying the Amyloid and Tau protein burden in patients with dementia. Novel PET tracers that interrogate receptor and signalling pathways in cancer cells are also being developed. These studies are aimed at expanding knowledge of the biology of cancer, and to assist in the development of new therapies through clinical trials in cancer patients at Austin Health. We have a number of active clinical trials at present.