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제 목 [보도자료] KOREA IT TIMES June 2013
작성자 HMT
작성일 13-05-29 10:58 조회수 3,117
The world’s most compact,
IT-based cyclotron developed in Korea
Throughout the world, medical centers are increasingly using radioactive substances to diagnose and treat diseases.Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is one of classic imaging technique that uses radioactive substances injected into patients to provide images of the body. PET is known to be more accurate in the detection of cancer than Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
Chai Jong-seo, a professor of Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) developed the world’s most compact,
 IT-based cyclotron for PET.
While CT and MRI are only capable of identifying cancer by displaying the size and shape of a tumor, PET can visualize the nature and metabolism of cancel cells spread throughout the body. It also clearly identifies the distribution and transition state of cancer cells. This can be possible as radioactive isotopes (RI) produced by cyclotron is injected into a body to visualize metabolic diseased cells.
In the past, very few of Korea’s medical centers were able to utilize PET due to lack of cyclotrons, which had to be imported at substantial costs. In the late 1990s, the government initiated a project to localize the cyclotron in partnership with Chai Jong-seo, a professor of Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU). In 2002, he proceeded to succeed in developing technologies for 13MeV cyclotron and subsequently 30MeV cyclotron for RI production in 2006.
Korea’ success in developing cyclotron technologies was fifth in the world followed by the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Belgium. Since that time, the cyclotrons have been supplied to seven national hospitals, contributing to reducing the price of production and distribution of radioactive medicine. Later, the cyclotrons were also exported to other countries including Vietnam and Kazakhstan.
World’s most compact and IT-based Cyclotron
Recently, Chai developed the world’s most compact, IT-based cyclotron for PET. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, he has led a three-year project entitled “Development of IT Based Full Automation Radio Pharmaceutical Production System”, which will be completed this June.
While conventional bulky cyclotrons need a wide space and more energy – around 100 kwh – for operation, this 9 MeV cyclotron is 1.2 meters in diameters, fits for confined spaces, is easy to carry, and requires less energy – around 30 kwh – for operation. This will help to simultaneously solve space constraints and problems resulting from wasting resources.
The world’s most compact, IT-based cyclotron for PET
As a result of its compact size in conjunction with IT functionality, turning on the system to produce beams has become far easier and faster. Since conventional cyclotrons require around 20 minutes to commence operation, it is difficult to produce RI every time it is needed. Operators are usually only able to produce RI early in the morning, while patients who are provided with a PET checkup late in the evening, naturally have less clear image efficiency (up to one-eighth differential). However, this new cyclotron takes less than 5 minutes to start operating, and RI production is simple and can be done at any time with the user-friendly i-Pad device, without requiring the assistance of an engineer. This will allow all patients to have the opportunity to receive a clear image at their PET check up, regardless of the time of day.
On top of this, the ICT function increases the convenience for maintenance service. When a conventional cyclotron is malfunctioning, operators have to wait for the maintenance centers to come fix the problems, which results in inconvenience for the patients. However, this IT-based cyclotron is monitored in real-time and provides immediate solutions remotely when glitches are detected. What’s more, the monitoring systems catch possible errors and inform users in advance, which allow them to take appropriate action.
“Once the project is completed this June, the cyclotron will be available on the market at nearly one-third of the price of conventional units. This is expected to contribute to providing a stable supply and prompt maintenance services for cyclotrons in Korea. Since the inquiries from governments and medical centers, especially from Asian and Middle Eastern countries, have been rising, we are also expecting to increase our sales in overseas markets,” Chai said.
Technology transfer to HMT
The technologies developed by Chai were transferred to HMT, a specialized Korean company in an accelerator, in order to commence production of the cyclotron. HMT is the first company in Korea to successfully develop Magnet Power Supply, which is used to power accelerator electromagnets using a digital controller. HMT has also succeeded in developing an Ion gauge controller & Power unit, which can measure the Torr of a vacuum value within an accelerator.
Established in 2007, HMT has evolved into one of the nation’s top accelerator companies, supplying its products to major clients including KIRAMS, Samsung Electro-mechanics, National Fusion Research Institute, and Pohang Accelerator Laboratory. With technological competitiveness and growth potential, HMT has been selected as “Inno-Biz” on several occasions, a designation whereby the government has selected to intensively foster as a growth engine for the national economy.
Noh Jun-taek, CEO of HMT
Noh Jun-taek, CEO of HMT said that, “We possess a distinct technological edge in accelerators that even large companies can’t rival. We have been actively looking to expand the technology into diverse areas. We came to understand that accelerators could also be used for medical services through Chai’s research. It is fascinating to see our technologies used to provide improved medical services for patients at a lower price.”
Chai's students of Biomedical Engineering College are doing research at the laboratory.
Today, radiopharmaceutical markets have demonstrated enormous growth as the demand for early detection of incurable disease and treatment without surgery is on the rise. “With the successful development of cyclotrons through this project, I hope the technologies for radiopharmaceutical production systems can also be utilized for the medical manufacturing process in the future.”