Current Edition

UK launches its first national PET imaging platform for drug discovery

NPIP will transform medical research and provide better outcomes for patients.

The Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Innovative UK have announced the launch of the UK’s first-of-its-kind total-body National positron emission tomography (PET) Imaging Platform (NPIP).

NPIP will bring together research to transform medical research and technology to advance the quality and speed of drug discovery.

Supplied by Siemens Healthineers and funded by £32m from the UK Research and Innovation, the two total-body Biograph Vision Quadra PET/CT scanners will facilitate access to total-body PET imaging for clinicians, academics and industry to lead to more advances for UK researchers and better outcomes for patients.

PET scanning is a crucial tool used to perform non-invasive imaging to detect diseases’ early onset.

Compared to existing PET imaging technology, which is less sensitive and requires repositioning patients multiple times to achieve a full body field of view, the new technology has higher sensitivity and works a lot faster to treat complex diseases including cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases.

Additionally, they will expose patients to a minimal amount of radiation, allowing more patients, including paediatric patients, to participate in clinical trials to understand diseases.

Situated in Scotland and London, each facility will be managed jointly by the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, King’s College London and Imperial College London.

The NPIP will provide an overview of how patients respond to novel drugs and treatments, as well as connect insights from research programmes and trials to begin building data for the PET community to access to benefit patients.

Dr Adam Staines, project director, NPIP and associate director, MRC, said: “The scientific advancements that will be enabled through the creation of NPIP will allow academic researchers, UK industry, and health professionals across the UK to all benefit from the investment” and “maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of human imaging research”.

The scanners are expected to be operational as of April 2024.