Cancer Diagnosis And Treatment Move Another Step Forward

Cancer diagnosis and treatment planning took another major step forward with the release of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the purchase and installation of a second positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scanner at the BC Cancer Agency.

“With one PET/CT scanner already in place at the BC Cancer Agency, we have seen how British Columbians have benefitted from better access to a proven diagnostic imaging tool,” said Wynne Powell, Chair, Board of Directors, Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA). “The commitment shown by PHSA, the Ministry of Health Services, the BC Cancer Agency and the BC Cancer Foundation to invest in the purchase and ongoing operation of a second public PET/CT scanner helps enhance B.C.’s reputation for providing the highest level of cancer care in the country.”

PET/CT uses radioactive tracers injected into the body, in conjunction with functional imaging technology, to determine the site(s) of disease and how cancer is behaving in an individual’s body. For patients, this technology means a single test that is highly effective at showing the presence and progress of disease and the patient’s response to treatment.

“With both a growing and aging population in B.C., demand for PET scanning continues to increase. A second PET/CT scanner will help improve timely access for patients,” said Dr. David Levy, President at the BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the PHSA. “On behalf of the BC Cancer Agency, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the BC Cancer Foundation for its efforts in raising funds for the purchase of this new PET/CT scanner.”

“BC Cancer Foundation donors are instrumental in making this very important project possible,” said Douglas Nelson, President and CEO, BC Cancer Foundation. “They have invested in it from the very beginning, having provided $2.25 million to establish the Leading Edge Endowment Fund which supports the research chair in functional cancer imaging. They are truly our partners in discovery, helping to advance the knowledge and treatment of cancer in B.C.”

The release of the RFP is a significant stage in the procurement process. Once submissions to the RFP are received and evaluated, a preferred proponent will be selected and offered the opportunity to negotiate an agreement to install the PET/CT scanner, as well as provide training and maintenance services in the long term. The Request for Proposals will be posted on the Provincial Government BC Bid website

The first publicly-funded PET/CT scanner has been in operation since June 2005. The Centre of Excellence for Functional Cancer Imaging at the BC Cancer Agency currently performs 3,100 scans per year. A second scanner, expected to be up and running by late spring 2011, will effectively double this annual capacity.

PET/CT is available for patients who fall within a specific set of evidence-based clinical guidelines established by the BC Cancer Agency’s Provincial Tumour Groups. This will ensure that those who will benefit the most from this technology will have access to it. Currently, patients with specific cancer indications in lung, head and neck, colorectal, testicular, gynaecologic, and lymphomas receive priority. Patients who do not meet the required clinical indications but want to have a PET scan are still able to access existing private sector facilities.

Source: BC Cancer Agency

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