Cardinal Health Extends Radiopharmaceutical Manufacturing Network To Nebraska
New Omaha facility to help advance the early diagnosis and treatment of disease
DUBLIN, Ohio. — Cardinal Health, a global provider of products and services that improve the safety and productivity of health care, today announced that it has opened a new facility in Omaha, Neb. that manufactures radiopharmaceuticals, giving local physicians new tools that aid in the early diagnosis and treatment of disease.
The new manufacturing facility, known as a cyclotron, will produce fluorine-18 (F-18), a raw material needed to create imaging agents that, when injected into patients, are visible during a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. This technique uses low levels of radiation to enable physicians to diagnose and treat certain forms of cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, as well as other serious medical conditions, at an earlier stage of onset. The new facility has created 30 highly skilled jobs across the areas of nuclear pharmacy, health physics and radiopharmaceutical manufacturing.
It is challenging to efficiently distribute FDG over great distances because it is only effective within hours of its production. By locating cyclotrons near its nuclear pharmacy sites, Cardinal Health can quickly distribute FDG to a greater number of hospitals, clinics and research facilities using its comprehensive fleet and logistics capabilities. The new cyclotron is adjacent to Cardinal Health’s existing nuclear pharmacy in Omaha, giving local patients greater access to the potentially life-saving diagnostic and therapeutic agents it produces.
“Cardinal Health’s new radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility provides Omaha patients and physicians with immediate access to some of the health care industry’s most cutting-edge imaging agents,” said Jordan Hankins, MD, medical director of nuclear medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “This innovative technology is an important tool in improving local health care, because it helps us detect serious illnesses early and determine the effectiveness of related treatments.”
In addition to FDG, the new cyclotron can produce a variety of other PET imaging agents to support oncology, neurology and cardiac imaging procedures, including new radiopharmaceuticals for use in clinical trials. The imaging agents produced at the facility will not only diagnose and treat disease at earlier stages, but they can also help pharmaceutical companies evaluate efficacy of new therapeutic agents, saving time and reducing costs associated with bringing new medications to market.
“Making PET products more accessible to clinicians and patients is critical to providing the highest level of care today, but it is also important to the future of molecular imaging,” said John Rademacher, president and general manager of specialty and nuclear pharmacy services for Cardinal Health. “While pharmaceutical companies bring great expertise in new drug development, Cardinal Health acts as a commercialization catalyst that has the manufacturing scale to rapidly bring novel agents to the broader U.S. health care market.”
Cardinal Health operates the largest radiopharmacy network in the United States, with nearly 160 nuclear pharmacy locations that compound and dispense radiopharmaceuticals that aid in the early detection and treatment of disease. The company also operates 27 cyclotrons that support the dispensing of PET products from more than 90 of its nuclear pharmacy locations. Its combination of nuclear pharmacy expertise and the size of its network allows Cardinal Health to reach more than 85 percent of all U.S. hospitals within three hours and to provide service and clinical expertise to the nuclear medicine community. Cardinal Health is also the largest employer of nuclear pharmacists in the world.
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