Air Cargo Management

LATAM Cargo help decentralise access to cancer diagnostics in Chile


LATAM Cargo Chile has announced a partnership with CGM Nuclear, the primary producer of radiopharmaceuticals in Chile.

The collaboration is to expedite the transportation of these vital substances used in cancer detection within Chile.

With this partnership, these radiopharmaceuticals, which were predominantly available only in Santiago, are now being distributed to various regions of the country, thus expanding access to early diagnostics in clinics and hospitals outside the central area.

The transported radiopharmaceuticals are used for the so-called ‘PET-CT’ examination, one of the most precise methods for detecting medical conditions such as cancer.

These compounds have a limited shelf-life and lose their effectiveness over time, posing a significant challenge in ensuring their timely delivery to various medical centres across the country.

LATAM Cargo is therefore playing a crucial role in shortening this cargo’s reception, transport, and delivery times, thus ensuring that each dose maintains its efficacy when administered to patients during the examination.

In 2019, prior to this partnership, 73 per cent of the medical centres capable of conducting this examination were located in Santiago, forcing thousands of patients in regions to travel and bear the associated costs to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Access to this examination has now increased by more than 40 per cent in regional hospitals.

The pharmaceuticals are currently transported by air at least three times a week to hard-to-reach locations due to transit times, such as Concepción, Valdivia, Antofagasta, and Puerto Montt, allowing approximately 7,000 patients each year to access these vital diagnostics near their homes.

Diego García, senior vice president of operations and handling at LATAM Cargo, said: “At LATAM Cargo, we understand that our responsibility goes beyond simply transporting cargo from one point to another. Our collaborative work with CGM Nuclear for the transport of these radiopharmaceuticals reflects how our logistical expertise can contribute to causes as significant as the fight against cancer.

“We will continue to work towards being an asset within the country, bringing early cancer diagnoses closer to patients in Chilean regions.”

Juan José Olea, general manager of CGM Nuclear, said: “As one of the leading producers of radiopharmaceuticals in the country, we understand our responsibility to bring these vital resources to all regions, enabling more people to access early cancer diagnoses.

“Our collaboration with LATAM Cargo has been instrumental in achieving this goal, and a clear example is the case of a clinic in Puerto Montt that was able to inaugurate the southernmost PET-CT unit in Chile for cancer diagnosis a few months ago.

“This achievement reflects our firm commitment to advancing nuclear medicine in the treatment of diseases, especially oncological ones, thus contributing to a more hopeful future for all Chileans.”

With the expansion of this operation to regions such as Concepción, Temuco, and La Serena-Coquimbo, it is expected that the number of patients outside Santiago will increase by 200 per cent by the end of 2024, benefiting between 12,000 to 15,000 individuals in total who will have timely diagnoses and, consequently, a better prognosis.

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