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SwissTrace Launches Twilite, an Innovative Product to Help in the Diagnosis Of Diseases, In Drug Development and Basic Research

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CSEM and Swisstrace introduce Twilite, a new and highly sensitive nuclear medicine blood sampler that measures - with high temporal resolution - the time-course of radioactivity in whole blood. Medical imaging techniques are increasingly important diagnostic tools for cancer and age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) - a nuclear medicine imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional picture of the body’s functional processes - is one such technique and is widely used in the diagnosis of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, in the development of new drugs and in animal research.

Twilite, far smaller than any of its competitors and hence far more suited to the clinical and research environment, is the only sampler adapted to the combined PET - nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) scanners increasingly used to improve diagnosis.

PET uses specific short-lived radioactive tracers to measure metabolism or other parameters in target tissue. To obtain quantitative images, the level of radioactive tracer in the blood must often be monitored in real time.

Current solutions for monitoring are large, inconvenient and inappropriate in many clinical situations especially in the presence of high external radiation (electromagnetic interference with other devices). This is why Twilite is so important. Not only is it smaller and more compact than existing systems, it also shows excellent sensitivity, linearity and signal-to-noise ratio.

To improve PET’s diagnostic accuracy it is often used in conjunction with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) scanners, but the high magnetic field of NMR scanners renders most electronics unusable. Twilite’s unique design makes it insensitive to magnetic fields and ideal for use with NMR scanners.

Product development - a team effort

Twilite was developed by CSEM and SwissTrace and brought to market by SwissTrace. The support of, and a grant from, the Swiss Confederation’s innovation promotion agency (CTI - www.kti-cti.ch) enabled the young company to call upon CSEM’s expertise for the system concept, from monitor head to data processing electronics.

Eighteen months in development and proof of principle system testing by CSEM, the system was developed into a full product by SwissTrace in continuing close collaboration with the center.

Fred Buck, CEO of SwissTrace - "SwissTrace has long collaborated with CSEM. Twilite is just another fine example of our very successful team work".

Outstanding benefits of this high sensitivity blood sampler

Standard samplers use scintillating crystals and light detectors in a single bulky housing which must be shielded with lead. The resulting instruments are bulky, extremely heavy and incompatible with many environments including NMR scanners and animal experimentation.

The beauty of Twilite is that it converts the radioactive tracer’s signal into an optical signal which is carried by liquid light guides to the data logging and signal processing system. This result in a much smaller measuring head made from special materials that are 100% compatible with NMR, and places the electronics and other hardware at a convenient distance from the monitoring head and the patient.

The complete system offers many advantages to medical and health end-users including its excellent sensitivity, linearity and signal-to-noise ratio even in the presence of high external electromagnetic radiation.

Significantly more compact than any existing systems, Twilite uses less lab space and performs data acquisition and analysis using the world’s most sold software in the field of nuclear medicine research.