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First Minister launches advanced new scanner for Welsh patients

17 February 2011

The First Minister of Wales, the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, has officially launched Wales’ new Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Imaging Centre in Cardiff.

The Centre offers Welsh patients a high-resolution scanning facility which can track cancers and other tissue in incredible detail, meaning diseases can potentially be detected at an earlier stage.

The £1.8M scanner is housed in the Centre’s specially-built premises operated by Cardiff University in partnership with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. The scanner, built by international technology company GE, is one of the most advanced of its kind in the UK. It has been operational for patients across Wales since September, allowing them access to a service they previously had to travel to England for.

At today’s launch, the First Minister viewed the scanning technology, which allows the detection of tumours when they are just a few millimetres in size. It also shows how active tumours are and how patients are responding to therapy. This allows doctors to determine on the most appropriate course of treatment, and early information to help them change to a different therapy if it is not working.

The First Minister was also shown the Centre’s £1M cyclotron which will be used to create the tracer drugs used in the PET process. . Cardiff University researchers will, in collaboration with research groups across Wales, the UK and internationally, work on the development of new tracers, treatments and treatment planning, in the Centre’s cutting-edge research laboratories and production suite.

The £16.5M Centre was funded jointly by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Departments of Health and of Economy and Transport.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said : "The new PET scanner is one of the most advanced of its kind in the UK. Patients in Wales are already benefiting directly from a technology which allows cancers to be spotted at an earlier stage and in much greater detail. The Centre is also a research facility where new scanning and therapeutic techniques will be developed with major partners in international medicine. The Centre is an excellent example of the Assembly Government, Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board working in partnership to establish Wales as a world leader for the quality of its healthcare."

Dean of Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, Professor Paul Morgan, said: "We and our partners in the NHS are extremely grateful to the Assembly Government for funding this crucial new development. The Centre will be used both for advanced scanning services for patients and for cutting edge clinical research. PET technology can image pathology undetectable by other methods and allows better targeting of therapy and improved understanding of how drugs work. Chemists and Physicists will be using the Centre to test new agents that can provide even better patient scanning and improvements to the effectiveness of radiotherapy. Medical and biological scientists will use PET to improve understanding of disease and to test new therapies for patients with diverse diseases, including cancer, heart diseases and dementia."

Kesh Baboolal, Director of Acute University Hospital Services, said: "I am very pleased that the First Minister has been able to see for himself the excellent work being done by the team here at University Hospital of Wales. The PET scanner is a great example of how collaborative working between the Health Board and the University, backed by Welsh Assembly Government funding, is making a real difference to patient care here in Wales.

"To get access to such hi-tech diagnostics, patients would have had to travel to England in the past. The scanner will allow us to tailor treatments to patients needs here in Cardiff by providing us with much more accurate information about a wide range of conditions and diseases like cancer. This in turn will make our care more efficient, improve patient experience and help save the lives of people from not only Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, but across Wales."


Notes to Editor

Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans.

Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise in research and research-led teaching encompasses: the humanities; the natural, physical, health, life and social sciences; engineering and technology; preparation for a wide range of professions; and a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.

Visit the University website at:

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board provides health services for over 445,000 people living in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan. It also serves a wider population across South and Mid Wales for specialties such as paediatric intensive care, specialist children's services, renal services, cardiac services, neurology, bone marrow transplantation and medical genetics.

It provides healthcare in people’s own homes, community clinics, and hospitals, for outpatient, inpatient and emergency care. The health board manages nine hospitals and seventeen health centres, and also provides services in health centres run by our NHS partner organisations both within Cardiff and the Vale and beyond, in Caerphilly and Merthyr for example. We are also responsible for the delivery of NHS primary care services in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, including general practitioners, community pharmacists, dentists and optometrists.

For further information or pictures please contact::

Stephen Rouse,
Public Relations Office / Swyddfa Cysylltiadau Cyhoeddus
Cardiff University / Prifysgol Caerdydd
029 2087 5596
Email / E-bost:


Leanne Coburn
Interim PR Manager / Rheolwr Cysylltiadau Cyhoddeus Dros Dro
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board / Bwrdd Iechyd Prifysgol Caerdydd a'r Fro
029 20 746885
Email / E-bost: