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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Monash is leading the way in advanced diagnostic imaging

Dr John McKay, former Director of Nuclear Medicine
at Monash Health and Dr Shakher Ramdave
Imaging techniques using a radiotracer for prostate cancer will lead to significantly better outcomes for patients at Monash Health.

Moorabbin Hospital is one of a select few sites in Victoria offering the cutting-edge Ga68 PSMA (Prostate Specific Monoclonal Antiget) PET scan, the most sensitive and specific test to detect aggressive prostate cancer.

“Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans have been widely used in the last decade to detect cancers using a glucose tracer, said Clinical Head of Nuclear Medicine and PET, Dr Shakher Ramdave.

“This emerging imaging technique uses a prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) inhibitor to target the enzyme on the surface of prostate cancer cells.”

In April this year, Moorabbin Hospital performed their first Gallium 68-PSMA PET scan, a new tracer they can now produce ‘in-house’ thanks to the establishment of their own laboratory.

Since purchasing a Gallium 68 generator and employing their own radio-pharmacist, Moorabbin Hospital can produce Ga68 labelled isotopes 2 to 3 times a day; with a half-life of only 68minutes, gallium needs to be produced frequently and as close as possible to the patient.

“Using Ga68-PSMA as a tracer, we can identify even a small amount of disease,” said Moorabbin Hospital Charge Technologist Mr Jason Bradley.

“Following a prostatectomy or other treatment for prostate cancer, the Ga68 PSMA PET scan can detect early recurrence of disease even at very lowprostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels—no other test is as accurate.”

The accuracy of this scan enables earlier and more targeted treatments for prostate cancer patients.
“We have scanned more than 50 patients in the last three months with astounding results,” added Mr Bradley.

“Clinical Ga68 PSMA PET scans are only available in a very limited number of sites in Australia and around the world,” said Dr Ramdave.

“We are very excited to be involved in this emerging imaging technique and contributing to the research.”

Dr Ramdave and Mr Bradley look forward to collaborating with Monash University researchers to advance research into prostate and other cancers.

“With the new Translational Research Facility at Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP) and future collaborative opportunities it will provide, we are in a unique position to undertake further clinical research into new tracers and treatment options within PET and nuclear medicine,” said Dr Ramdave.

In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men with more than 3,000 deaths every year.

Image courtesy of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine.

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