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Painless, low-cost test of cancer

Patients will receive the nuclear medicine service from today

Published : 23 Oct 2021 10:56 PM | Updated : 24 Oct 2021 12:12 PM

The government has launched ‘PET-CT with Cyclotron’, a nuclear medicine device that facilitates low-cost and painless diagnosis of cancer in human body.

National Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (NINMAS) has been  providing the service on a limited scale for about six months at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in the capital. Cancer patients will get the service in a wider range from today (Sunday). Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman will officially inaugurate the service.

Sources concerned say it will reduce the number of patients going abroad for cancer treatment as well as save a lot of foreign exchange.

An official said Cyclotron is a wonderful discovery in science where radioactive substances are made for human medicine and research through nuclear reactions. A cyclotron is a machine used to make short-lived radioactive isotopes that can be used for medical imaging or research.  Cancer is being diagnosed in different patients using ‘Radioactive isotope’ produced by the 18/9 MEV Cyclotron installed in NINMAS.

Currently, the radioactive isotope produced by the cyclotron is being supplied uninterruptedly to four government and two private hospitals in the country and this is making a very important contribution in the treatment of cancer in Bangladesh.

Dr. Anwar-ul-Azim, Principal Scientific Officer of National Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (NINMAS) told Bangladesh Post that Cyclotron basically produce radio isotopes that are used for PET-CT. And the capacity of cyclotron installed at BSMMU is 18/9 MeV (Mega Electron volt).

'Besides, our cost is much less. The cost of the test in a private hospital is at least taka 65 thousand, whereas our cost is only taka 20 thousand. Although the original cost is much higher,’ he added. 

Anwar-ul-Azim further said that this technology is much more reliable than other tests that detect cancer. Because if there is cancer in a human body even if like a  mustard seed, it can be detected. It takes much less time to get test results. Besides, the patient does not feel any physical discomfort for the test and there is no side effects. This test is also needed during cancer treatment to see how well the patient has improved.

‘A Cyclotron machine and two PET-CT have been set up on the premises of BSMMU through the “PET-CT and Cyclotron” installation project through which there is an opportunity to conduct test for cancer diagnosis in 12-14 patients every day,’ he said. 

NINMAS is running a state-of-art PET-CT service providing scans for patients with malignancy, inflammatory and infectious diseases and neurological disorders. PET-CT has been established in 2015 at NINMAS under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) through an ADP project, “Establishment of Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) with Cyclotron facilities”. Under this Project Cyclotron has been installed. The most popular PET tracer 18F- fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is being produced by the cyclotron.

PET- CT is an innovative nuclear medicine diagnostic technique combining functional and anatomical information. Radiation from a tracer is detected by a ring of detectors (PET: functional information) and fused with anatomical information from the CT. The most widely used tracer is fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). It is an analogue of sugar and is taken up by cancer cells and inflammation. 

For PET-CT imaging an IV channel is opened in patient’s hand to give FDG injection. After injection patient has to wait for 45-60 minutes. During this period the patient has to take rest in lying condition closing his eyes and rest his voice also (talking is not allowed). Scanning time in machine bed is 20-25 minutes. Patient may need to stay total 4-5 hours at NINMAS to complete the procedures and waiting due to queue.

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