Northern innovation aims to make cancer and Alzheimer's diagnosis more affordable

Northern innovation aims to make cancer and Alzheimer's diagnosis more affordable

LabLogic Systems, a Sheffield-based global leader in scientific equipment and software, is developing a revolutionary product that will have a positive impact on medical imaging worldwide.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a rapidly developing medical imaging technique which uses a radioactive pharmaceutical (radiotracer) combined with a PET/CT scanner to provide the diagnosis of many life-threatening conditions, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

However, PET scans are costly because expensive equipment and skilled people are required throughout the process, from radiotracer production through to quality control testing and patient injection. Therefore, there are only a small number of facilities within the NHS and worldwide that offer PET imaging.

LabLogic embarked on the Tracer-QC project in 2015 in partnership with US-based company Trace-Ability Inc. to create a compact, all-in-one quality control system which would replace an entire laboratory.

Richard Brown, Managing Director at LabLogic, said: “An individual PET scan currently costs the NHS anything from £800 to £1000. With the Tracer-QC, we are not only making the process more efficient and cost-effective but deskilling the entire process.”

In 2016, the Tracer-QC project was awarded $1.8m from The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), due to it having “the potential to modernize the pharmaceutical manufacturing body of knowledge to support more robust, predictable, and/or cost-effective processes.”

Tracer-QC combines established microplate reader technology, a robotic dispensing arm and a simple user interface to replace an entire quality control laboratory with a single system. The Tracer-QC innovation is the first product of its kind in the world, leading the way in providing a completely automated solution for the quality control of radiotracers.

Tracer-QC has already been demonstrated at many international exhibitions and LabLogic has successfully run trials at world-leading PET-manufacturing facilities in Germany, Sweden and the USA.

Over the next few years, LabLogic is keen to make an impact on the global medical imaging landscape, promoting the Made In Sheffield brand and reinforcing the city’s position as a centre of innovative research.