New Cyclotron Fixes the Bottleneck at Turku PET Centre
​The Research Director of the Accelerator Laboratory Mikael Bergelin (left), Head of the Radiochemistry Laboratory Jörgen Bergman, Professor of Radiochemistry Olof Solin and Director of the Centre Juhani Knuuti are excited to have a new cyclotron in the Centre.

​The Director of Turku PET Centre, Professor Juhani Knuuti confesses by the new cyclotron, which is a particle accelerator, that this has been the bottleneck of development at the Centre. The Centre has not had the capacity to produce enough radioactive isotopes to fulfil the needs of research and healthcare.

PET imaging requires radioactive isotopes to be administered to the patients or subjects being imaged, and these substances must have a short half-life in order to not harm the patient. After being produced, the radioactive isotopes need to be used within 20 minutes. Imaging at Turku PET Centre has therefore been limited by how much of these isotopes can be produced. The new TR-19 cyclotron fixes this bottleneck as it enables much faster production of radioactive isotopes than before.

PET imaging is used all around the world mainly to diagnose cancer.  

– In addition to cancer, we use 30 percent of our time to study the brain, heart, metabolism and inflammations. In research, the variety is even more extensive, says Knuuti.

With the new cyclotron, PET can also be applied in chemistry and physics in addition to medicine.

– Radioactive isotopes can be used, for instance, to study high-temperature corrosion. We can study how the corrosion progresses and at what speed. We can try to solve what is the first reaction that starts the corrosion, says Mikael Bergelin, the Research Director of the Accelerator Laboratory at Turku PET Centre.

The next step is to alter the Centre’s facilities to serve the increased production of radioactive isotopes. The owners of the PET Centre – the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University and Hospital District of Southwest Finland – as well as the Academy of Finland that has granted funding, are responsible for the investment.

Photos: Hanna Oksanen

Published date 12/16/2015 4:40 PM ,  Modified date 12/16/2015 4:43 PM

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