Australian radiopharmaceuticals reconstruction

Australia's Federal Minister for Science, Peter McGauran officially kicked off a $17.9 million reconstruction of ANSTO’s radiopharmaceuticals production facility by turning the soil with a specially engraved shovel to mark the occasion today.

Minister McGauran said the improvements will allow ANSTO to supply more radiopharmaceuticals to help diagnose and treat the tens of thousands of Australians who need nuclear medicine treatment each year.

“In conjunction with the opening of the Replacement Research Reactor in 2005-06, the new radiopharmaceuticals production facility will help meet predicted increases in patient demand over the next 30 years, providing world’s best working conditions in the process,” he said. “Currently, ANSTO supplies over 70 per cent of radiopharmaceuticals used in Australian nuclear medicine procedures and this figure will increase with the new facilities.

“In addition, once the new research reactor is on line in 2005-06, ANSTO will be able to produce a broader range of radioisotopes not currently available to the Australian public,” Minister McGauran said

In nuclear medicine, scans using radiopharmaceuticals can diagnose a variety of conditions from heart disease to cancer. The radiopharmaceutical is either injected or breathed in through a breathing device where it will concentrate in the part of the body under investigation. A gamma camera then detects the location of the radiopharmaceutical and produces an image for the doctor to tell whether the part of the body being tested is functioning normally. The principal uses of nuclear medicine are currently for diagnosis, but the replacement reactor will facilitate the increased use of radiopharmaceuticals for treatment. The refurbishment and extension of ANSTO’s radiopharmaceuticals production facility is due for completion in 2006.

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