Posted on:
Oct 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM

Posted by:
Diana Paez

    The initial applications of positron emission tomography (PET) began almost five decades ago, but were initially limited to the research setting. In the mid-1990s, PET began to be used in clinical practice in the more developed countries of the world — with proven impact, especially in oncology. In particular, the rapid developments in PET imaging over the last ten years are due to significant achievements in several fields. Among them, the general acceptance of the value of FDG–PET in clinical oncology was a major step, as it led to the widespread use of the technique and an increasing demand for this type
of examination. In parallel with this and no less relevant, there have been important technological improvements such as the introduction of hybrid systems
which couple PET with X ray computed tomography (PET/CT).

    Establishing a PET centre is a large scale process that requires careful planning, inputs from multiple stakeholders, the support and approval of the authorities, secure funding, and a detailed implementation strategy. The need for a carefully planned strategy is even more essential in the conditions prevailing in a developing country, where the introduction of PET may be impeded by a scarcity of financial resources and, in many cases, an inadequate understanding of the potential roles and contributions PET imaging can play in a health care system.

    The issues discussed above are addressed in this publication. The aim is to set out a well defined pathway for establishing a cyclotron/PET centre capable of providing advanced PET/CT imaging services to the general population. The focus of this strategy is to acquire approval for the project and the necessary resources from the authorities through the systematic preparation of the required
information and justifying arguments.

    This publication presents a comprehensive overview of the steps involved in the establishment of a clinical PET facility, from formulation of a strategy to cyclotron implementation, radiopharmaceutical production and clinical