The dream of an African continent using atoms for peaceful means in achieving better health in medical sciences came true in May 2023 when a South African delegation consisting of Nuclear Medicine Physicians, Pharmacists and Scientists collaborated with their peers from the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra to perform the first ever procedure in Ghana on a male patient with prostate cancer using Lutetium-177 PSMA.
NTP Radioisotopes is a subsidiary of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) specialising in the manufacturing and supply of radioisotopes used in nuclear medicine, specifically Molybdenum-99 and Iodine-131 as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), that are supplied globally. NTP also manufactures radiopharmaceuticals such as Technitium-99m generators and associated cold kits in addition to Iodine-131 capsules and Lutetium-177 labelled doses. These products are manufactured for the benefit of South Africans and patients on the African continent. NTP’s subsidiary AEC Amersham sells and distributes these radiopharmaceutical products on the African continent. The company is also responsible for sourcing and supplying other nuclear medicine and health science products that are not manufactured by NTP, when required.
In this ground-breaking procedure using Lu-177 in Ghana, NTP and Dr Masha Maharaj sponsored the activity and labelling on site by Dr Otto Knoesen and Mr. Renny Modjela. The first of four treatment procedure was performed by a team of Nuclear Medicine Physicians consisting of Dr Masha Maharaj, Prof. Mike Sathekge and Dr Alfred Ankrah with his team at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. This treatment also presented an opportunity for the KorleBu Hospital staff to be trained for the preparations and execution of future treatments.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of Necsa who is the Chairperson of NTP says, “NTP Radioisotopes has already established itself as a global leader in the nuclear medicine field. Our vision is to expand our footprint in Africa through collaborative initiatives such as the event in Ghana. This will ensure that these lifesaving isotopes are accessible to our people and we see Afcone as a critical body that can assist in pooling together all nuclear-related activities for optimal collaboration and greater benefit to the continent.”
The event coincided with a very successful 18th International Conference on Radiopharmaceutical Therapy (18th ICRT) hosted by the World Association of Radiopharmaceuticals and Molecular Therapy (WARMTH) held in Accra from the 1 to 5 May 2023. The South African delegation participated at the conference with other nuclear medicine physicians, scientists, and healthcare professionals exploring challenges and advancements related to nuclear medicine.