ADAC offers free F-18 FDG tracersto its MCD technology customers


Vendor joins P.E.T.Net to seed marketIn an effort to speed the clinical acceptance of high-energy imaging,ADAC Laboratories has joined in partnership with P.E.T.Net, anewly formed regional cyclotron joint venture, to offer free

Vendor joins P.E.T.Net to seed market

In an effort to speed the clinical acceptance of high-energy imaging,ADAC Laboratories has joined in partnership with P.E.T.Net, anewly formed regional cyclotron joint venture, to offer free fluorine-18fluorodeoxyglucose radiotracers to selected customers.

ADAC senior vice president Ian Farmer announced in a June 4news conference at the Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting thatthe joint venture would begin immediately to supply free F-18FDG to facilities that operate ADAC gamma cameras equipped withmolecular coincidence detection. MCD was introduced last yearas a $250,000 option that permits high-energy imaging with ADAC'stop-of-the-line gamma cameras (SCAN 6/21/95).

Although the economic implications of the move could initiallybe modest, the program symbolizes ADAC's commitment to makingFDG imaging a routine part of nuclear medicine practice, companyexecutives said.

"This is the most important development our company hasever made," said David Lowe, ADAC chairman and CEO.

P.E.T.Net officials also reacted favorably.

"We think it's a great program to help accelerate thedevelopment of PET and FDG," said Gene McGrevin, CEO of Syncorand P.E.T.Net.

About 260 ADAC Vertex Epic and Solus Epic gamma cameras inthe field can be upgraded to use MCD. Of that number, 60% haveaccess to FDG, according to Farmer. MCD-capable systems takingpart in a multicenter trial testing the technique have been installedat Emory University in Atlanta and Veterans Affairs hospitalsin Ann Arbor, MI, and West Los Angeles. Two new systems equippedwith MCD are being shipped every month, Farmer said.

ADAC and P.E.T.Net will share the cost of the giveaway, accordingto Farmer. Participating customers will also have an opportunityto buy FDG at a discount price after the free offer ends, Farmersaid.

By priming the pump with free FDG, program organizers hopeto accelerate provider and payor acceptance of high-energy imaging.They point to numerous clinical trials that appear to validatePET's superiority over competing modalities for evaluating breast,lung, and other cancers. Although cancer cells seem to have anaffinity for absorbing this positron-emitting glucose analog,the short half-life of the isotope and the high cost of cyclotronsused to produce the agent have slowed the modality's growth. ADACofficials estimate that up to three million FDG procedures couldbe performed annually if these barriers were overcome.

The ADAC program is the second major initiative designed toimprove the prospects of high-energy nuclear imaging announcedin as many months. ADAC's partner in the FDG giveaway, P.E.T.Net,was formed in May as a joint venture between Syncor and CTI Services(SCAN 5/22/96). The Norcross, GA, company will initially manageCTI's six regional cyclotrons and the four regional PET isotopeoperations formerly managed by Syncor, McGrevin said. Syncor willinvest $14.5 million in the venture, which will establish 25 newcenters in the next three years. CTI will make a similar contribution,he said.

ADAC's MCD is a hardware/software modification that gives standardgamma cameras the ability to perform coincidence detection andimage FDG. Coincidence detection is considered by PET advocatesas a key to the modality's high resolution and sensitivity todisease. Many of ADAC's competitors, including Elscint, GE, Picker,and SMV, also displayed coincidence detection capabilities atthe SNM conference.

ADAC's work with PET instrument designer Gerd Muehllehner,president of UGM Medical Systems in Philadelphia, is contributingto substantial improvements in MCD performance, according to Farmer.A greater than two-fold increase in count rate, to 2.4 millioncounts per second, was gained by switching to a 5/8-inch sodiumiodide crystal and modifying electronics and software, he said.

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