Total-body PET scanners will enhance UK drug discovery

PET scanner

A national total-body positron emission tomography (PET) imaging platform for drug discovery is launching in the UK next year.

It is hoped that the National PET Imaging Platform (NPIP) will transform medical research and industrialise cutting-edge technology, enhancing the quality and speed of drug discovery.

Total-body PET scans are quicker and more sensitive than the current technology, exposing patients to considerably lower doses of radiation, meaning more patients, including children, can participate in clinical trials.

NPIP’s network of infrastructure and intelligence will also connect insights from many research programmes and trials, building a rich bank of data that the PET community can access.

Dr Juliana Maynard, Director of Operations and Engagement for the NPIP and Head of Translational Imaging at Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “The value of NPIP is huge for the UK life sciences sector, providing researchers with access to superior clinical data, not just from their own trials but from every research programme that joins the platform. It will set a new standard of excellence for UK medical imaging research, unlocking innovative discoveries and attracting the international research community to conduct clinical trials on British soil.”

The scanners, funded by a partnership between Medicines Discovery Catapult, the Medical Research Council and Innovate UK, and supplied by Siemens Healthineers, will be situated in Scotland and London.

Dr Samana Brannigan, Head of Health Technologies at Innovate UK, said: “NPIP will open opportunities for SMEs operating within the drug discovery sector, giving them vital access to state-of-the-art equipment and invaluable data to progress their innovation faster. Our commitment to establishing and nurturing a national PET imaging network will strengthen the UK’s capabilities, providing robust support for clinical research initiatives and businesses in the pharmaceutical R&D space.”

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