The only state government-owned state-of-the art cyclotron machine in the country, which is installed at the cancer hospital at the Gauhati Medical College Hopsital (GMCH), is expected to begin production of the cancer-detecting radioactive isotope flurodeoxyglucose (FDG) by the end of this year.
FDG isotopes are injected into a patient’s body to detect cancer hotspots. Within 40 minutes after injection, hot spots are detected which are then picked up by Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computerised Tomography (CT) machines. Once production of FDG begins here, GMCH will not only be able to supply the FDG to other cancer facilities in the state but across the northeast region. The production of FDG will also help generate commercial revenue for the state government and decrease the waiting time for patients in the northeast. Currently, FDG is airlifted from Kolkata on a daily basis. Currently, engineers from developed countries are manning the machine at GMCH.
Within a day or two, engineers from the USA will be coming to the cancer facility at GMCH to gear up the machine and attempt to make it operational on a trial basis. “The machine is in the final stage of production. We are expecting that by November the machine will be able to produce FDG. Once the machine begins producing FDG, GMCH will be the sole supplier of FDG in the northeast region. Engineers from foreign countries are working on the machine to make it operational,” said Gautam Goswami, nodal officer of cyclotron and PET-CT machines at the cancer hospital.
Once the machine is able to operate the production of FDG, GMCH will be requiring a final safety analytical report from the Department of Atomic Energy and from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. “The people from the energy board will check whether the machine is safe, how much radiation is emitted and how safe it is for the environment. We will be waiting for the green signal. Assam is the only state government in the country to be the owner of cyclotron. Once production begins, we will be the only state government producing FDG,” added Goswami, who was the head of the radiology department at GMCH. FDG has a life of only 109 minutes after which it starts decaying. There are 15 to 17 cyclotron machines in the country.
Source: TNT-TheNortheastToday (Times of India)