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Ho Chi Minh oncology hospital to have radiopharmaceutical production facility

Ho Chi Minh oncology hospital to have radiopharmaceutical production facility

Saturday, April 15, 2023, 16:24 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh oncology hospital to have radiopharmaceutical production facility
Medical workers perform a CT scan for a patient. Photo: Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health

A radiopharmaceutical production facility will be developed at Oncology Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City to supply radiopharmaceuticals for medical treatment at the hospital.

The municipal Department of Health said on Friday that the hospital will build a cyclotron system to ensure a sufficient amount of radioisotopes is available to better serve positron emission tomography and computed tomography, shortly known as PET/CT, at the hospital.

The hospital began adopting CT and MRI imaging techniques in 2010.

It is also among a few public hospitals in the city that offer PET/CT scanning services.

PET/CT scanning is a combined imaging test performed by doctors to detect cancer, make a diagnosis, determine the stages of cancer, assess the effectiveness of treatment, among others.

Dang Huy Quoc Thinh, deputy director of the hospital, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Friday that the hospital is using medical radioisotopes supplied by Cho Ray Hospital, the only hospital based in the city that owns a radiopharmaceutical production facility.

The supply, however, is limited as the radiopharmaceutical production system at Cho Ray Hospital is aging.

Consequently, the Oncology Hospital can only perform PET/CT scanning for seven cases per day, twice a week.

Meanwhile, the number of cancer patients seeking medical treatment at the hospital has risen, fueling the demand for PET/CT scanning.

Some patients had to wait for up to three weeks to get a PET/CT scan, while many others had to fly to Hanoi to do so.

If the Oncology Hospital owns a cyclotron system to produce radioisotopes, it may avoid disruptions in radiopharmaceuticals supplies.

With a sufficient amount of radiopharmaceuticals, the hospital can perform PET/CT scanning for 15-20 patients on a daily basis, Thinh said.

Diep Bao Tuan, another deputy director at the Oncology Hospital, said that many other hospitals in the city are in need of radiopharmaceuticals.

Aside from serving PET/CT scanning, radiopharmaceuticals are needed for other medical procedures such as screening for osteoporosis, bone cancer, bone metastasis.

The undersupply of radiopharmaceuticals has reportedly plagued hospitals in the southern metropolis for years.

This issue left multiple PET/CT scanners at the Oncology Hospital, the Military Hospital 175, and the People’s Hospital 115 idle, while many patients could not get PET/CT scanning as expected.

In late 2021, the municipal health authority sought the Ministry of Health’s supply to provide the southern city with a certain amount of radiopharmaceuticals. However, the undersupply remains unsolved until now.

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Thu Hien - Minh Duy / Tuoi Tre News

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