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Positron Emission Tomography Centre in Georgia


Study and Optimization of the Process of Highly Enriched O-18, O-17 and N-15 Isotopes Production and Creation of the Necessary Prerequisites for Design of Business Plan on Regional PET Centre Establishment in Georgia

Tech Area / Field

  • MED-RAD/Radiomedicine/Medicine
  • MED-DID/Diagnostics & Devices/Medicine
  • CHE-IND/Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Process Engineering/Chemistry

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
National High Technology Center of Georgia, Georgia, Tbilisi

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Medical Radiology, Georgia, Tbilisi\nGeorgian National Cancer Centre, Georgia, Tbilisi


  • CPH Pharma bv, The Netherlands, Amsterdam\nSpectra Gases, USA, NJ, Branchburg\nUniversity of Iowa / Carver College of Medicine, USA, IA, Iowa City

Project summary

The aim of the Project is to increase the effectiveness of the production process for 18O, 17O, 15N highly enriched stable isotopes manufacturing and creation of the necessary prerequisites for design of Business Plan on Regional Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Centre establishment in Georgia.

Within the Project fulfilment it is intended to study the effect of water enrichment grade in 18O isotope and its purity on the effectiveness and the cost of patient examination by PET method.

Urgency of PET Center creation is based on the fact that neither Georgia nor the neighbor countries, except Russia, have PET Centers.

Isotope 18O is the initial material for production of short-living radioisotope 18F on cyclotron, which is used for production of 18F-deoxyglucose (18FDG) used at PET Centers for diagnostics of oncologic, neurologic and cardiologic diseases. By increasing the concentration of 18O isotope from 95 at. % up to 98 at. %, the yield of 18F isotope can be increased, and, thus, the cost of patient PET examination decreased. Improvement of water purity can also increase the 18F yield. Finally all together will decrease the cost of patient PET examination. During the process of 18O production by low temperature rectification of nitric oxide, applied in Georgia, the highly enriched isotopes 15N
(>99 at. %) and
17O (30 - 95 at. %), are obtained simultaneously. By selling these isotopes, the cost of PET examination may be even more reduced. Recently the world market offers 17O with 90 + at. % enrichment.

The importance of PET examination is in its ability to identify many oncologic, neurologic and cardiologic diseases at their early stage.

The main tasks of the Project are to study and to optimize the process of highly enriched of 18O, 17O, 15N isotopes production and the development of base for creation of PET Centre in Georgia. The solution of the first task intends the studies directed to increase the effectiveness of highly enriched 18O, 17O, 15N isotopes production by method of low rectification of nitric oxide, which will lead to decrease of the 18O enriched water cost. In the frame of this task it is intended to study the effect of enrichment and purity of H218O on the effectiveness and the cost of patient’s PET examination.

The second task is to be solved through the preparation of materials exhibiting the necessity of PET Centre creation in Georgia, selection of its optimum scheme for it and estimation of PET Centre creation cost.

Many of the Project participants were early involved in design and construction of plants for separation of isotopes of light elements 10B, 11B, 13C, 15N, 17O and 18O by low temperature rectification and by chemical isotope exchange methods. Some participants are specialized in synthesis of compounds labeled by isotopes; the others have good experience in analytics. The eminent specialists in diagnostics and treatment of oncologic, neurologic and cardiologic diseases will participate in the Project too.

Under the first task the studies will be carried out to optimize the process of oxygen and nitrogen isotopes separation by nitric oxide low temperature rectification in order to achieve the most effective simultaneous production of 18O, 17O, 15N isotopes. Study and design of the nitric oxide isotope normalization process will help to decrease the price of the initial product (nitric oxide) of the process of oxygen and nitrogen isotopes separation. The enhanced technology of labeled with 18O and 17O isotopes water and elementary oxygen production from enriched nitric oxide will result in improved qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the process. The improved technology of water purification will provide the better purity and longer shelf-time of water. Modernization of technology for production of ammonia, labeled with 15N, from nitrogen will result in increase of product yield and will reduce the cost of its synthesis. The design and implementation of analysis procedures for determination of NO, H2O, O2 and for determination NO and H2O will help to solve the problems.

The expected results on the study and optimization of the process of highly enriched 18O, 17O, 15N isotopes production will have good prospective of application in oxygen and nitrogen isotope manufacturing. During the Project fulfilment together with the Project collaborators, the world experience in organization and in the structure of PET Centers will be studied and the optimum scheme will be selected for location of separate units of PET Centre in Tbilisi: the hospital for PET examination, cyclotron chamber, radiochemical laboratory, radiochemical synthesis laboratory. The volume of works on buildings reconstruction, for different units of PET location, will be determined. The total cost of PET center creation in Georgia, including scanner, cyclotron, equipment, setting in operation, juridical expenses, personnel training, etc. will be estimated. Summarizing all above mentioned the base will be worked out for design of business-plan on PET Centre creation in Georgia.

The main expected under the Project results are the designed measures resulting in the decrease of cost of 18O isotope enrichment process and preparation of the base for regional PET Centre creation in Georgia. After the Project fulfilment the business-plan design is intended. The possible form of implementation is the establishment of joint venture with the Government of Georgia, foreign companies and investors, or by drawing in investments from international funding organizations. The suggested sites for PET Center location are National High Technology Centre of Georgia, the Institute of Radial and Intervention Diagnostics Academy of Science of Georgia and National oncology Center of Georgia.

The Project will provide ISTC’s aim fulfilment by conversion of weapons scientists (56 % of Project participants) activities to peaceful tasks, will help to integrate these scientists in international R&D society, will support technologies design in the field of environment protection and improvement of ecology.

The Project fulfilment will help to save R&D level, personnel capability; establish business relations with the leading companies and scientific centers and will become one more step towards the global collaboration.

At the present time the economics of Georgia is not able financially support the design and organization of production process in the field of proposed high technologies, the Project will be directed to attract the interest of the foreign companies in order to establish the joint venture, and, thus, will help Georgia in transition towards market economics.

Spectra Gases Inc. company (the USA), Chemie Pharmacie Holland Company and University of Iowa, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine (the USA) will collaborate with the NHTC during the project fulfilment. CPI-Georgia (Georgia) will transfer to University of Iowa, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine 1 kg of water with different isotopic enrichment free of charge. This water will be used in carrying out on-location experiments and for revealing the effect of 18O and 17O concentrations on 18F isotope synthesis parameters, and PET examination effectiveness. The timely exchange of information will be performed with collaborators together with comments on technical reports and the verification of results.

Collaborators will support the Project participants in visiting the international conferences, meetings and seminars. Scientific collaboration can be reflected in joint seminars and publications. Collaborators may also provide technical support in a form of equipment transfer and procedure mastering.

Study and optimization of highly enriched 18O, 17O, 15N isotopes production will be based on theoretical and experimental works. The effect of enrichment grade and H218O purity on effectiveness and the cost of PET examination will be studied based on the results of experiments carried out at research PET Centre (the USA), using the water transferred to the Centre by CPI-Georgia. The improvement of water production efficiency will be obtained by modernization of technologies.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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