Molecular Science Cyclotron Facility
Liverpool Hospital was one the first hospitals in Australia to provide Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging service and currently in its 20th year. It has participated in the multi-centre trials that validated PET imaging for Medicare funding in Australia.
The planning for the “Molecular Science Cyclotron Facility” commenced in 2006 and is a state-of-the-art facility comprising of latest cyclotron technology and radiopharmaceutical production laboratories.
The facility is designed and purpose built to be compliant with good manufacture practices (GMP) standards, to meet Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) licencing requirements. It can support and facilitate distribution of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals for both routine clinical use and for multi-centre clinical trials, and also to develop and validate novel molecular imaging biomarkers.
This Facility has the production capacity to meet the growing clinical demands at Liverpool Hospital and expanding health services in south western Sydney, and the rest of the state.
Clinical and Research Benefits:
The main clinical PET tracer used is a glucose analog called FDG which studies increased glucose metabolism seen in most solid tumours and haemotological malignancies. It can be used to provide early and more accurate diagnosis of cancer, and also used to monitor treatment response and predict patient outcomes.
This facility can produce other novel molecular imaging biomarkers that can study different aspects of tumour biology and allows us to treat each patient as an individual, taking in account of their own genetic make-up and tumour biology. Instead of relying on clinico-pathological findings, molecular imaging provides the doctors with the ability to diagnose the disease early based on clinico-biological findings, and to predict the treatment response and patient outcomes during the early stage of the disease.
Molecular imaging facilitates and plays a key role in changing model of care towards image-guided "Personalised Medicine" and "minimally invasive" therapeutic approaches, and “theranostics” approach linking diagnostic and therapy imaging biomarkers: i.e. finding the right target for the right patient, and not purely based on epidemiology data.
Some of the current collaborative clinical research interests in SWSLHD are in molecular and multi-parametric imaging for adaptive and targeted molecular therapy for various cancers such as head and neck, colon, pancreas, lung, prostate and neuroendocrine cancer.
What Does the Future Look Like?
This facility supports the establishment of a state-of-art molecular imaging and therapy program, and places Liverpool Hospital and SWSLHD at the forefront of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic services, and transform how we study and treat various cancer, and also for the study of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, various neurological and mental health conditions including brain injury, and cardiac disease.
This facility can foster and strengthen a translational approach (from bench to bedside) to provide clinical care and conduct research. It provides a platform for early adaption of new imaging technology and imaging biomarkers, linking to various clinical and pre-clinical research programs within SWSLHD, and also at state and international levels.
This facility has facilitated collaborative research links with other centres in Australia and North America.
The co-location of this facility with a level 6 teaching hospital, University and basic science academic and research facilities further facilitate this translational approach and makes this an unique set up in NSW.
The facility will support the planned expansion of advanced imaging, cancer, mental health, paediatric and other clinical services at Liverpool Hospital and within SWSLHD in the next few years, and assist the ongoing collaboration and alignment of research strategies between University and SWSLHD in developing the capacity of the Hospitals within this health district as integrated education and research health facilities.
Our Molecular Science Cyclotron Facility Staff
Mrs Chithra Sathiakumar (Medical Physics Specialist / Radiation Safety Officer)