The University of New Mexico Cancer Center and global technology leader Siemens Medical Solutions USA, Inc. have signed a 15-year agreement that will provide New Mexicans with the most cutting-edge cancer diagnostic tools available. The UNM Cancer Center will host a press conference with Governor Bill Richardson on September 15, 2009 at 10 a.m. to mark the installation of a Siemens Eclipse Cyclotron and the launch of a new isotope production facility and radiopharmacy at the new UNM Cancer Treatment and Clinical Research Facility.
This new radioisotope production center will allow Siemens and the UNM Cancer Center to produce medically useful isotopes, which are a critical component of powerful cancer diagnosis and treatment methods. Imaging biomarkers produced by the new cyclotron that will be installed in the Center are also used to diagnose and monitor cardiac and neurologic diseases and conditions. In the past, physicians and researchers had to import isotopes from outside the state. In addition, this new radiopharmacy will serve as the newest distribution site for PETNET Solutions, a Siemens Company, and will serve the southwest region.
“We are thrilled that Siemens has selected the UNM Cancer Center to house their isotope distribution site to serve their Southwest network,” said Dr. Cheryl Willman, Director and CEO of the UNM Cancer Center. “This academic-industry partnership will improve access and lower costs for isotopes in our entire region and for all healthcare systems in our State. The research and training conducted at this site will provide a great benefit to the people of New Mexico and the surrounding region and will continue to spur economic development and the growth of our State’s biotechnology industry.”
“This equipment will greatly improve our ability to detect, monitor and treat cancer and other diseases and we are very pleased to be able to offer this unique facility to our patients,” said Dr. Phil Wiest, Chair of the Department of Radiology at the UNM School of Medicine and UNM Hospital.
Research opportunities in isotope development abound, and the UNM Cancer Center is planning to take full advantage of having such sophisticated equipment. “Isotopes have incredible potential as new cancer therapies, and Dr. Willman and her team are exploring those possibilities with Los Alamos National Laboratory,” said Steve McKernan, CEO of UNM Hospitals and Vice President for Health Sciences Center Hospital Operations. “Our emerging partnerships will also benefit the state’s economy with tremendous new economic development, and we look forward to creating new jobs and generating more income for the state while serving all New Mexicans with the finest cancer care available.”
The UNM Cancer Center’s partnership with Siemens will make the center a member of PETNET Solutions’ position emission tomography (PET) radiopharmacy network. Currently the world’s largest, it is operating 52 molecular imaging radiopharmacies worldwide and guarantees reliable dose delivery to meet the needs of hospitals, clinics and research facilities. In parallel, the network offers access to a pipeline for biomarker research.
“Siemens is honored to partner with a prestigious institution such as the University of New Mexico, and support the growth of the UNM Cancer Center,” said Britta Fuenfstueck, CEO, Molecular Imaging, Siemens Healthcare. “Our expansion of the PETNET network will not only improve access to PET technology, but also ease the burden of healthcare providers to produce their own radiopharmaceuticals.”
The Siemens Eclipse Cyclotron will be operational by March 1, 2010.
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of the State of New Mexico, and one of only 65 National Cancer Institute designated cancer centers in the nation. It is home to 85 board-certified oncology physicians representing every cancer specialty and more than 120 research scientists hailing from such prestigious institutions as M.D. Anderson, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic. Last year, the UNM Cancer Center served more than 7,600 patients in 90,000 patient visits. Additional information is available online: http://cancer.unm.edu.
The Siemens Healthcare Sector is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry and a trendsetter in medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, medical information technology and hearing aids. Siemens is the only company to offer customers products and solutions for the entire range of patient care from a single source – from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, and on to treatment and aftercare. By optimizing clinical workflows for the most common diseases, Siemens also makes healthcare faster, better and more cost-effective. Siemens Healthcare employs some 49,000 employees worldwide and operates in over 130 countries. In fiscal year 2008 (to September 30), the Sector posted revenue of 11.2 billion euros and profit of 1.2 billion euros. For further information please visit: www.siemens.com/healthcare.