Establishing a PET-CT Institute

Galilee Medical Center seeks to purchase a PET-CT
scanner in order to provide crucial, basic tests to the region’s cancer patients

The population of the Western Galilee does not currently have timely access to PET-CT
scans – a life-saving technology that is today the standard of care for battling cancer.
In Israel, there are currently only 14 PET-CT scanners – much fewer per capita than in most
developed countries. There is only one machine in all of Northern Israel, at the hospital
in Safed, serving a population of 1,470,000. A second one is scheduled to be installed in
Nazareth, but this will still be utterly insufficient to meet the demand in the region.
As a result of this situation, the wait time for PET-CT appointments in the Western
Galilee is three months on average. These long wait times cause delays in diagnosing and
treating malignancies, and in the meantime the disease can worsen. Those who can afford
private health care are able to secure earlier PET-CT appointments at private hospitals,
so that people with financial means have a significant advantage combatting the disease.

Galilee Medical Center seeks to purchase a PET-CT
scanner in order to provide crucial, basic tests to the region’s cancer patients

Establishing a PET-CT


The population of the Western Galilee is ranked below average on the socio-economic scale
and have a higher tendency to forego medication or medical treatments because of their
.cost, so that they rarely use this option.
Since there is no PET-CT machine at the Galilee Medical Center (GMC) and appointments at
the closest hospitals take months, many local cancer patients choose to travel to distant
hospitals instead of waiting so long. This is especially distressing for people in poor health
who must endure long trips to the center of the country every time they require a PET-CT
scan, often by themselves and using public transportation.
The Galilee Medical Center (GMC) treats the region’s cancer patients through its Oncological
Department and its ambulatory care services. Unfortunately, the number of cancer patients
in the area is growing. Thousands are actively being treated at GMC and 500-600 new
patients are diagnosed every year.

What is a PET-CT?

PET-CT is a medical imaging procedure which combines two technologies in a single hybrid
device: computed tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography, which is based on
nuclear medicine. A radioactive substance, usually fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), is injected
into the patients’ veins. Since cancerous tumors consume much larger quantities of glucose
than do healthy cells, the substance is captured by the cancerous cells and these diseased
cells are visibly differentiated from the others when scanned.
PET-CT scans are performed at all stages of cancer treatment from the moment of diagnosis.
They are used to determine the stage of the disease and help predict the response to
various treatments, and are central to long-term follow-up once cured. Patients with all types of cancer are regularly sent to do PET-CT scans so that their doctors can determine
the disease’s current severity and identify metastasized cells. These scans are also used to
assess the treatment’s success or failure.

In recent years, doctors have started relying on PET-CT scans for other medical purposes
as well. These include using PSMA markers to detect prostate cancer and to diagnose systemic infectious and inflammatory diseases.
Sometimes PET-CT scans are required for patients who are hospitalized. In such cases,
GMC must transport their patients to a different medical center by ambulance together
with a medical team.

The Goal: Filling a Void

As part of GMC’s goal of upgrading the level of health care in the Western Galilee and
enabling the region’s population to benefit from similar medical services as those available
in central Israel, the hospital is intent on improving the medical care it is able to offer.
As part of this greater strategy, GMC wishes to boost its Oncology Department by purchasing
a PET-CT scanner. This is considered a basic piece of equipment in most hospitals around
the world, and installing a machine at GMC is expected to have a significant impact on the
health and quality of life of thousands of people.
GMC would also like to develop the increasingly important field of nuclear medicine so that
the hospital can approach the level of nuclear medicine offered at medical centers in the
rest of the country. However, this is not possible without a PET-CT machine.
Moreover, GMC is affiliated with Bar-Ilan University’s Faculty of Medicine and its students
receive clinical training at the hospital. The lack of a PET-CT scanner harms their training
as future doctors. In addition, establishing a PET-CT institute at GMC will create new
opportunities for medical research at the hospital.

About Galilee Medical Center

Galilee Medical Center (GMC) is a government-owned general hospital that was established
shortly after the founding of the State of Israel in Nahariya in the Western Galilee. Today
it is the sole medical center in the region, serving a diverse population of 600,000 Jews,
Moslems, Christians and Druze – civilians and soldiers.
GMC’s strategic location, a mere six miles from the hostile Lebanese border, requires it
to maintain the highest standards of preparedness in case of emergency situations. The
hospital must always be ready to provide advanced treatment for multiple casualty events
involving both civilian and military populations. During the Second Lebanon War of 2006,
the Medical Center suffered a direct hit from a missile, and numerous lives were saved
thanks to the fact that the hospital had transferred its activities to its fortified underground
facilities, the first and only one of its kind in Israel at that time.

Galilee Medical Center received international acknowledgment for its professional and
humane treatment of 3,000 wounded Syrians – 70% of all the victims who were brought to
Israel in order to receive humanitarian aid during the bloody civil war in Syria.
In recent years, GMC has undergone an unprecedented overhaul: dozens of new departments
and new medical services were inaugurated, some in fields that were previously unavailable
to residents of the periphery. These include the new neurosurgery department; the cerebral
angiography unit; head surgery; oral and maxillofacial specialists, and others.

In addition to being the largest surgical center in the Galilee, GMC is the principal teaching
hospital for the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee, training approximately
two-thirds of its medical students.


Galilee Medical Center is seeking $3.5M in funding in order to establish a PET-CT Institute.

For more information, contact

Talia Zaks, Director of Donor Relations, Friends of Galilee Medical Center,

Tel. +972-53-4222310 | [email protected]

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