NTP maintains partnerships with leading academic hospitals and research institutions in South Africa, providing knowledge and technical assistance, as well as supporting clinical trials.
Nuclear medicine has been used safely and effectively to save millions of lives around the world, through diagnostic and treatment procedures that make use of active pharmaceutical ingredients or medical radioisotopes.
South Africa has approximately 60 nuclear medicine practitioners, which is significantly higher than most sub-Saharan African countries. In public healthcare institutions in South Africa, elementary diagnostic and advanced therapeutic treatments using medical radioisotopes are also subsidised by the government’s Department of Health.
NTP Radioisotopes supplies South Africa’s private and public healthcare sectors with bulk radiopharmaceuticals and patient-ready single doses, all at affordable local rates. In addition, NTP provides subsidised radiopharmaceuticals for use in clinical trials of isotope-based diagnostic and treatment procedures.
NTP supplied doses of our proprietary fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) product,Gluscan® , to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, for research trials (used in conjunction with PET-scanning) on invasive cervical cancer. The University of Stellenbosch also received more than 300 doses of FDG for a study that was part of a multinational project involving the evaluation of tuberculosis (TB) patients’ response to treatment. In 2012, NTP donated a Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) scanner to the Western Cape PET-CT Academic Centre at Tygerberg Hospital.
At the Steve Biko Academic Hospital/University of Pretoria, NTP has supported numerous studies and trials performed by teams comprising personnel from NTP and Necsa; researchers from Steve Biko Hospital, under professor of nuclear medicine and department head Mike Sathekge; and with local and international commercial isotope partners including NTP subsidiary AEC-Amersham.
With NTP’s support, Steve Biko Hospital successfully trialled prostate cancer diagnostic tracer F-18 choline and bone metastasising imaging agent Na-F-18 on a significant number of patients. In March 2015, the first medical procedure using lutetium-177 (Lu-177) nca prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) was successfully conducted on two patients at Steve Biko Academic Hospital – the first in-Africa isotope-labelled theranostics procedure. NTP performed the labelling of the PSMA together with a representative from ITG in Germany.
NTP Radioisotopes also has a multi-year agreement with the South African National Research Foundation’s (NRF) iThemba LABS, to produce cyclotron-based FDG that will be used to supply local PET-CT facilities in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces. FDG has a half-life of just 110 minutes, making hyper-local production a necessity. As part of the partnership NTP purchased a new Siemens 11 MeV cyclotron, which is used to produce the FDG, and which is housed at iThemba LABS in Cape Town.