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Vulcan introduces devices to ship and dispense radioisotopes


Products boast smaller, lighter, simpler designsVulcan Nuclear has begun marketing its 5-curie FDG Shipping System. The new product follows on the commercial heels of the PET Vial Shield Dispensing Station, which the Milwaukee, WI,

Products boast smaller, lighter, simpler designs

Vulcan Nuclear has begun marketing its 5-curie FDG Shipping System. The new product follows on the commercial heels of the PET Vial Shield Dispensing Station, which the Milwaukee, WI, company began marketing in spring. Both were developed for use by nuclear medicine and PET facilities.

The Shipping System enables FDG to be shipped safely and less expensively, reducing the transit cost to hospitals and, ultimately, patients. Measuring 13 x 13 x 19.5 inches, it has a low lead-to-tungsten ratio that enables the maximum amount of FDG to be shipped for the minimum cost, according to the company.

The system consists of a tungsten inner container with lead packing enclosed in a sealed high-density plastic shipping shell. Though not unique, it marks an improvement over others on the market, said Paul Yanke, manager of the nuclear medicine and PET accessories division of Vulcan Nuclear.

"The older packaging systems take up so much more space," he said. "This is the first system that can ship 5 curies in this small a package."

Marketing began in June, and the first systems are scheduled to ship in August. The cost is about $2000 each.

The Dispensing Station is designed to hold Vulcan's Delux Tungsten Vial Shield, which contains 10-cc to 30-cc vials of FDG, while a dose is being drawn for procedures. Made of tungsten, the shield is smaller, lighter, and easier to manipulate than traditional lead systems and thus easier for technicians to use, the company claims. It is included with the station.

"It allows rotation 360° so that every drop of liquid can be drawn out and easily enables right- or left-handed operation," Yanke said. "The dispensing station also prevents the shield from slipping out of the technician's hands. The essence of this design is its simplicity."

So far, 10 Dispensing Stations have been shipped--each for about $3000. The station is being marketed to hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics, and no sales projections were available.

A subsidiary of Vulcan Lead, which was established to manufacture custom lead for industrial use, Vulcan Nuclear was formed in 2000. The parent company had sold radiation shielding for gamma cameras, and formation of a nuclear medicine division seemed a logical move.

"We decided to take things to the next level," Yanke said.

That next level will include the development of new products with an eye toward meeting the expressed needs of its customers. Refining and upgrading existing products and introducing new related products are moves on the company horizon, Yanke said. A dose calibrator may come on the market in early 2003.

"Our biggest strength is our manufacturing capability. All of our products are manufactured by us," he said. "We bring to the arena both in-house design and manufacturing--we oversee the product all the way to the patient's door."

Yanke added that the company's greatest challenge is a pleasant one: deciding how best to take advantage of the growing potential it sees in the marketplace.

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