Dubai: A unique plant that will significantly improve cancer management for patients in the UAE and the region was launched on Wednesday, the Dubai Health Authority announced.

The Dh80 million plant will produce an injection needed for cancer patients who undergo PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans.

The injection was previously imported and had a short shelf life of ten hours.

"Previously we needed to import this injection from countries like Holland and the short-shelf life of the product was always a challenge," said Qadi Saeed Al Murooshid, Director General of the Authority.

He said the injection is now manufactured in Dubai and will be an hour away from many major hospitals that require this drug for various oncological, cardiovascular and neurological conditions.

The injection is known as the FDG (Flurodeoxglucose) which is a radioactive glucose required for the PET scan. The scan is known to be much better than regular scans because it can detect cancer early. It can also detect the recurrence of cancer and can identify if the treatment given to the patient is working within the first cycle of chemotherapy itself.

To conduct a PET scan, the patient needs to be injected with a dose of FDG.

Dr Jamila Salem Al Suwaidi, consultant medical physicist in Nuclear Medicine at the Dubai Hospital attended the inauguration ceremony of the plant.

"The DHA fully supports the private sector and the establishment of this project is a boost to the health sector in the emirate of Dubai," Al Murooshid said.

He said the DHA strategy to work with the private sector is visible through huge events as the on-going Arab Health Congress.

The Congress and exhibition has attracted more than 5,000 participants and many companies are showing their latest medical technology at the Dubai Convention and Exhibition Centre.