Uses of isotopes in medicine and radiochemical dating

Nuclear Medicine: Radioisotopes

Uses of isotopes in radiochemical dating

led in december 2014 to a nea joint declaration on the security of supply of medical radioisotopes, focused on mo-99, which is so far supported by 13 countries: australia, canada, france, germany, japan, the netherlands, poland, south korea, russia, south africa, spain, the uk and the usa. these tracers are generally short-lived isotopes linked to chemical compounds which permit specific physiological processes to be scrutinised. ansto is building a substantial mo-99 production facility to ramp up quickly to 130 six-day tbq per week (6500 per year), or 10 million tc-99m doses per year, with exports to the usa, japan, china and korea. if tc-99 is produced directly in a cyclotron, it needs to be used quickly, and the co-product isotopes are a problem. nuclear medicine project in australia involves developing a co-located synroc treatment plant for its wastes from mo-99 production. russia, the research institute of atomic reactors (niiar or riar, with three reactors for isotope production) and trans-regional izotop association (becoming jsc isotope in 2008) established a joint venture, isotop-niiar to produce mo-99 at dimitrovgrad from 2010. products which are used in medicine are referred to as radiopharmaceuticals. ra-224 is a natural decay product of th-228, and indirectly, of th-232. also it called for proposals for an leu-based supply of mo-99 for the us market, reaching 111 six-day tbq per week by mid-2013, a quarter of world demand. another important use is to predict the effects of surgery and assess changes since treatment. pure beta emitter and of growing significance in therapy, especially liver cancer. is keen to increase its share of world supply, and in 2012 some 66% of its radioisotope production was exported. northwest medical isotopes (nwmi) plans to produce half of north america’s demand for mo-99 from 2017, using leu targets.

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used in treating thyroid cancer and in imaging the thyroid; also in diagnosis of abnormal liver function, renal (kidney) blood flow and urinary tract obstruction. generally neutron-rich ones and those resulting from nuclear fission need to be made in reactors, neutron-depleted ones are made in cyclotrons. they planned to use aqueous homogeneous reactor (ahr) technology with low-enriched uranium in small 100-200 kw units units where the fuel is mixed with the moderator and the u-235 forms both the fuel and the irradiation target. gbq is quoted as an average dose of iodine-131 for thyroid ablation, and up to 11 gbq for patients with advanced metastatic disease. there are 82 stable elements and about 275 stable isotopes of these elements. the patient experiences no discomfort during the test and after a short time there is no trace that the test was ever done. the fdg is readily incorporated into the cell without being broken down, and is a good indicator of cell metabolism. 2009, jsc isotope has been authorized by rosatom to control all isotope production and radiological devices such as rtgs in russia. the company received approval to begin routine production in august 2015, and aims eventually to meet half of us demand with 110 six-day tbq per week. technetium generators, a lead pot enclosing a glass tube containing the radioisotope, are supplied to hospitals from the nuclear reactor where the isotopes are made. iodine-131 is used to treat the thyroid for cancers and other abnormal conditions such as hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid). million in usa in 2012, 550,000 in australia), accounting for about 80% of all nuclear medicine procedures worldwide. the supply chain’s economic structure therefore needs to be changed to attract additional investment in production capacity as well as the necessary reserve capacity, and all supply chain participants worldwide need to agree on and implement the changes needed.

Uses of Radioactive Isotopes

doctors and chemists have identified a number of chemicals which are absorbed by specific organs. also the processing and distribution of isotopes is complex and constrained, which can be critical when the isotopes concerned are short-lived. 2006 britain witnessed the murder of one of its newer citizens, alexander litvinenko, a former russian intelligence official, by poisoning with radioactive polonium.-60 has mostly come from candu power reactors by irradiation of co-59 in special rods for up to three years, and production is being expanded. it was apparently over one hundred times the dose used in tat for cancer treatment and the po-210 is much longer-lived than isotopes used for tat. this requires the patient to be brought to a nuclear reactor, rather than the radioisotopes being taken to the patient. production sites include: bruce b and pickering in canada (70% of world supply, expanding to bruce a and darlington); embalse in argentina; qinshan phase iii units 1 and 2 in china; wolsong 1 and 2 in south korea (all candu); and leningrad 1 in russia (rbmk). at chalk river in canada (supplied via mds nordion) ceased production in october 2016, though the capacity will remain on standby until the reactor closes in march 2018. an increasing supply shortfall of tc-99 was forecast from 2010, and the iaea is encouraging new producers. in tat for cancers or alpha radioimmunotherapy, with decay products bi-212 (1 h) and po-212 delivering the alpha particles. they are produced in wire form and are introduced through a catheter to the target area. her daughter irene was contaminated with polonium in a laboratory accident and died of leukemia at the age of 59. number of incidents in 2008 pointed up shortcomings and unreliability in the supply of medical isotopes, particular technetium.

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10,000 hospitals worldwide use radioisotopes in medicine, and about 90% of the procedures are for diagnosis.-99m or molybdenum-99 can also be produced in small quantities from cyclotrons and accelerators, in a cyclotron by bombarding a mo-100 target with a proton beam to produce tc-99m directly, or in a linear accelerator to generate mo-99 by bombarding a mo-100 target with high-energy x-rays. it would probably need to be complexed on to an organic carrier which would enter the bloodstream and take it to vital organs where it would stay. a second plant has been built at plano in texas, operating from 2016, and a new industrial-scale plant is planned for caen in france.. in asthmatic patients, and for the early diagnosis of lung diseases and function. some radioisotopes are manufactured in a cyclotron in which protons are introduced to the nucleus resulting in a deficiency of neutrons (proton rich). more recent development is positron emission tomography (pet) which is a more precise and sophisticated technique using isotopes produced in a cyclotron. canada light source inc (cls) in saskatoon is using a linear accelerator to bombard mo-100 targets with x-rays, and has produced some mo-99 for mip. the isotopes of an element have the same number of protons in their atoms (atomic number) but different masses due to different numbers of neutrons. to study genetic diseases affecting copper metabolism, such as wilson's and menke's diseases, for pet imaging of tumours, and also cancer therapy. new and still experimental procedure uses boron-10, which concentrates in the tumour. once a radioactive form of one of these substances enters the body, it is incorporated into the normal biological processes and excreted in the usual ways. main world isotope suppliers are mallinckrodt pharmaceuticals (ireland), mds nordion (canada), ire (europe), ntp (south africa), isotop-niiar (russia) and ansto (australia).

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pet's most important clinical role is in oncology, with fluorine-18 as the tracer, since it has proven to be the most accurate non-invasive method of detecting and evaluating most cancers. at present the cost is at least three times and up to ten times that of the reactor route, and mo-100 is available only from russia. fission radioisotopes, the vast majority of demand is for of mo-99 (for tc-99m), and the world market is some us$ 550 million per year. for diagnosis of coronary artery disease other heart conditions such as heart muscle death and for location of low-grade lymphomas. these are detected by a pet camera and give very precise indication of their origin. the camera builds up an image from the points from which radiation is emitted; this image is enhanced by a computer and viewed by a physician on a monitor for indications of abnormal conditions. hours, and beta decays to bismuth-212 (1 hour half-life), then most beta decays to polonium-212. distinct advantage of nuclear imaging over x-ray techniques is that both bone and soft tissue can be imaged very successfully. / information library / non-power nuclear applications / radioisotopes & research / radioisotopes in medicine. outage reserve capacity needs to be sourced, valued and paid for by the supply chain. in medicine, nuclear medicine, the use of radioisotopes for diagnostics, radiation therapy, radiopharmaceuticals and other beneficial medical uses of nuclear technology. med built a small plant at bessines-sur-gartempe in france to provide lead-212 from irradiated thorium, and this came on line in 2013. 2009 the nea set up the high-level group on the security of supply of medical radioisotopes (hlg-mr) to strengthen the reliability of mo-99 and tc-99 supply in the short, medium and long term.

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the canadian and netherlands reactors required major repairs over 2009-10 and were out of action for some time. 2003 an investigative journalist in russia, yuri shchekochikhin was fatally poisoned, and in 2004 a st petersburg businessman romam tsepov met a similar fate, his symptoms closely resembling those of livinenko. therapy has progressively become successful in treating persistent disease and doing so with low toxic side-effects. a need for increased production capacity and more reliable distribution is evident. the rest is from br-2 in belgium (10%), maria in poland (5%), safari-1 in south africa (10-15%), opal in australia (increasing to 20% from mid-2016) and until the end of 2015, osiris in france (5%). however, in october 2012 covidien pulled out of the joint venture with b&w “after learning that the time and cost involved with the project would be greater than originally expected. irradiation is widely used for sterilising medical products and supplies such as syringes, gloves, clothing and instruments, many of which would be damaged by heat sterilisation. as fission proceeds the solution is circulated through an extraction facility to remove the fission products with mo-99 and then back into the reactor vessel, which is at low temperature and pressure.* some tc-99m is produced in accelerators but it is of lower quality and at higher cost. the atomic mass is the sum of the protons and neutrons.-99m (6 h):Used in to image the skeleton and heart muscle in particular, but also for brain, thyroid, lungs (perfusion and ventilation), liver, spleen, kidney (structure and filtration rate), gall bladder, bone marrow, salivary and lacrimal glands, heart blood pool, infection and numerous specialised medical studies. radioisotope most widely used in medicine is technetium-99m, employed in some 80% of all nuclear medicine procedures – hence some 30 million per year, of which 6-7 million are in europe, 15 million in north america, 6-8 million in asia/pacific (particularly japan), and 0. with this knowledge, radiopharmacists are able to attach various radioisotopes to biologically active substances.

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-210 can also be made by neutron irradiation of bi-209, and that is most likely source of any significant quantity. a ra-224/pb-212 generator system similar to the mo-99/tc-99 one is used to provide lead-212 from radium-224 (via rn-220 and po-216). such mo-99 has relatively low specific activity, and there are complications then in separating the tc-99. diagnostic medicine, there is a strong trend to using more cyclotron-produced isotopes such as f-18 as pet and ct/pet become more widely available. about 40% of it is supplied by mds nordion, 25% from mallinckrodt (formerly covidien), 17% from ire and 10% from ntp. earlier proposal for mo-99 production involving an innovative reactor and separation technology has lapsed. a positron-emitting radionuclide is introduced, usually by injection, and accumulates in the target tissue.-11, nitrogen-13, oxygen-15, fluorine-18:These are positron emitters used in pet for studying brain physiology and pathology, in particular for localising epileptic focus, and in dementia, psychiatry and neuropharmacology studies. medical radioisotopes made in nuclear reactors are sourced from relatively few research reactors, including:Hfr at petten in netherlands (supplied via ire and mallinckrodt). (it was the first element discovered by marie curie, in 1898, and named after her native poland. most of this co-60 is for sterilization, with high-specific-activity (hsa) co-60 for cancer treatment being made in canada’s nru at chalk river, and in the bruce b nuclear power plant. irradiation (sometimes called teletherapy) can be carried out using a gamma beam from a radioactive cobalt-60 source, though in developed countries the much more versatile linear accelerators are now being utilised as a high-energy x-ray source (gamma and x-rays are much the same). tat using lead-212 is increasingly important for treating pancreatic, ovarian and melanoma cancers.

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po-210 levels in soil would be even less, but it is concentrated in tobacco and traces of it can be found in smokers' urine.-99m decays by a process called "isomeric"; which emits gamma rays and low energy electrons. (this is what happens with targeted alpha therapy (tat) using very low levels of alpha-active radioisotopes: the carriers take them to dispersed cancerous tissues where they are needed. february 2015 nordion and its us parent sterigenics international announced a new arrangement with the university of missouri research reactor (murr) and general atomics to produce mo-99 from leu targets from 2018 using the 10 mw pool-type reactor. these types of waste often undergo decay storage for periods of months to a few years before being disposed of at urban land-fill sites. 2015 northstar medical radioisotopes signed an agreement with westinghouse to investigate production of mo-99 in nuclear power reactors using its incore instrumentation system. short-range radiotherapy is known as brachytherapy, and this is becoming the main means of treatment. russia's kurchatov institute the 20 kw argus aqueous homogeneous reactor (ahr) has operated since 1981, and r&d on producing mo-99 from it is ongoing. medicine was developed in the 1950s by physicians with an endocrine emphasis, initially using iodine-131 to diagnose and then treat thyroid disease. is a branch of medicine that uses radiation to provide information about the functioning of a person's specific organs or to treat disease. x-ray tomography (ct) scans and nuclear medicine contribute 36% of the total radiation exposure and 75% of the medical exposure to the us population, according to a us national council on radiation protection & measurements report in 2009. 40 million nuclear medicine procedures are performed each year, and demand for radioisotopes is increasing at up to 5% annually. low energy gamma rays it emits easily escape the human body and are accurately detected by a gamma camera.

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it requested an economic study of the supply chain, and this was published in 2010 by the nea. its product portfolio includes more than 60 radioisotopes produced in cyclotrons, nuclear reactors by irradiation of targets, or recovered from spent nuclear fuel, as well as hundreds of types of ionizing radiation sources and compounds tagged with radioactive isotopes. nucleus of a radioisotope usually becomes stable by emitting an alpha and/or beta particle (or positron). mr litvinenko's case the intense alpha radiation was reportedly in vital organs and sufficient to destroy them over three weeks. it reviewed the mo-99 supply chain to identify the key areas of vulnerability, the issues that need to be addressed and the mechanisms that could be used to help resolve them. of the radiation source within the body makes the fundamental difference between nuclear medicine imaging and other imaging techniques such as x-rays. its half-life is so short, a gram of po-210 is about 5000 times as radioactive as a gram of radium – which sets the standard of activity. there are also a number of unstable natural isotopes arising from the decay of primordial uranium and thorium. radioisotope used for diagnosis must emit gamma rays of sufficient energy to escape from the body and it must have a half-life short enough for it to decay away soon after imaging is completed. for cancer brachytherapy and as silicate colloid for the relieving the pain of arthritis in larger synovial joints. of medical equipment is also an important use of radioisotopes. the usa coquí pharmaceuticals has signed a contract with argentinian nuclear engineering company invap to build an open-pool reactor similar to australia’s opal, using leu targets, and a mo-99 production facility at alachua county, florida. russia has used po-210 as a heat source in short-life spacecraft and lunar rovers.

Uses of Radioactive Isotopes

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, simply dosing someone with polonium might not have much effect if it simply went in one end and out the other in a day or two without being absorbed from the gut. f-18 in fdg (fluorodeoxyglucose) has become very important in detection of cancers and the monitoring of progress in their treatment, using pet. to label red blood cells for monitoring, and to quantify gastro-intestinal protein loss or bleeding. it will treat legacy acid wastes as well as alkaline ones from ongoing production, and construction is due to start in 2017. it is an isotope of the artificially-produced element technetium and it has almost ideal characteristics for a nuclear medicine scan. the thyroid, for example, takes up iodine, the brain consumes quantities of glucose, and so on. leukaemia may involve a bone marrow transplant, in which case the defective bone marrow will first be killed off with a massive (and otherwise lethal) dose of radiation before being replaced with healthy bone marrow from a donor. opal, safari, and increasingly other reactors such as maria use low-enriched uranium (leu) targets, which adds about 20% to production costs. phase 1 of the mo-99 production complex with capacity of 1700 tbq/yr was commissioned in december 2010, and phase 2 was commissioned in june 2012 taking capacity to 1480 tbq/yr (evidently 6-day activity). in australia there are about 560,000 per year among 21 million people, 470,000 of these using reactor isotopes. present there are up to 200 radioisotopes used on a regular basis, and most must be produced artificially.-177 dotatate or octreotate is used to treat tumours such as neuroendocrine ones, and is effective where other treatments fail. use of radioisotopes for medical diagnosis and treatments results in the generation of mainly low-level waste (llw).

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however the main radioisotopes such as technetium cannot effectively be produced without reactors. pathologists have devised hundreds of tests to determine the constituents of blood, serum, urine, hormones, antigens and many drugs by means of associated radioisotopes. demand for mo-99 was 23,000 six-day tbq/yr* in 2012, but has apparently dropped back to about 19,500 since. a combination of neutrons and protons, which does not already exist in nature, is produced artificially, the atom will be unstable and is called a radioactive isotope or radioisotope. it is a very powerful and significant tool which provides unique information on a wide variety of diseases from dementia to cardiovascular disease and cancer (oncology). in cancer brachytherapy (prostate and brain), also diagnostically to evaluate the filtration rate of kidneys and to diagnose deep vein thrombosis in the leg. in january 2009 babcock & wilcox (b&w) announced an agreement with international isotope supplier covidien to produce mo-99 sufficient for half of us demand, if a new process was successful. techniques in nuclear medicine use radioactive tracers which emit gamma rays from within the body. developed countries (26% of world population) the frequency of diagnostic nuclear medicine is 1. perfusion imaging (mpi) uses thallium-201 chloride or technetium-99m and is important for detection and prognosis of coronary artery disease. over half of the mo-99 has been made in two reactors: nru in canada (30-40% but ceased production in october 2016) and hfr in netherlands (30%). the targets are then processed to separate the mo-99 and also to recover i-131. short-range radiotherapy is known as brachytherapy, and this is becoming the main means of treatment.

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this waste includes paper, rags, tools, clothing and filters, which contain small amounts of mostly short-lived radioactivity. clinical trials for leukaemia, cystic glioma and melanoma are under way. brachytherapy procedures give less overall radiation to the body, are more localised to the target tumour and are cost-effective. earlier reports quoted 4800 tbq/yr, and rosatom aimed for 20% of the world mo-99 market by 2014, supplied internationally through nordion.-89 (50 d)*:Very effective in reducing the pain of prostate and bone cancer. other sources such as radium-226, used in cancer therapy, will however require long-term storage and geological disposal as ilw, as a result of their higher level of long-lived radioactivity. b&w and covidien expected a five-year lead time to first production. a plant at janesville, wisconsin, is planned eventually to supply half of the us demand for mo-99, and in february 2016 the nrc authorised a construction permit for the project. radioisotopes can therefore be used to label molecules of biological samples in vitro (out of the body). this is still about two days from the end of irradiation, so some 167,000 tbq/yr must be made in the actual reactors to allow for cooling, processing and decay en route to the users. radiopharmaceuticals can be used to examine blood flow to the brain, functioning of the liver, lungs, heart or kidneys, to assess bone growth, and to confirm other diagnostic procedures. an external radiation procedure is known as the gamma knife radiosurgery, and involves focusing gamma radiation from 201 sources of cobalt-60 sources on a precise area of the brain with a cancerous tumour. as a marker to estimate organ size and for in-vitro diagnostic kits.

Compelling Research Opportunities using Isotopes

historically reactor irradiation prices have been too low to attract new investment, and full cost recovery is needed to encourage new infrastructure. these were to be joined by the clinton and hope creek bwrs in usa from 2012. b&w received million towards this medical isotope production system (mips) in 2010 from the us government and completed the r&d and conceptual design phase in 2012. it has been awarded million in grants from nnsa to december 2016, and it has a 5 million debt financing package from healthcare investment firm deerfield management. these procedures are known as radioimmuno-assays and, although the biochemistry is complex, kits manufactured for laboratory use are very easy to use and give accurate results. north america is the dominant market for diagnostic radioisotopes with close to half of the market share, while europe accounts for about 20%. it is also well used in cardiac and brain imaging. iridium-192 implants are used especially in the head and breast. billion in 2012, with medical radioisotopes accounting for about 80% of this, and is poised to reach about billion by 2017.% per year, and the frequency of therapy with radioisotopes is about one tenth of this. the alpha decays of bi-212 and po-212 are the active ones destroying cancer cells over a couple of hours.-131, palladium-103 and radium-223 are also used for brachytherapy, all being auger (soft) x-ray emitters, and having half-lives of 9. yttrium-90 is used for treatment of cancer, particularly non-hodgkin's lymphoma and liver cancer, and it is being used more widely, including for arthritis treatment.

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smaller gamma irradiators, often with cs-137, are used for treating blood for transfusions and for other medical applications. there are about 40 activation product radioisotopes and five fission product ones made in reactors. but at 138 days its half-life is long enough for it to be manufactured, transported and administered before it loses its potency. radiotherapy is less common than diagnostic use of radioactive material in medicine, it is nevertheless widespread, important and growing. for instance, strontium-89 and (increasingly) samarium 153 are used for the relief of cancer-induced bone pain. after about four to six hours, the exposure rate of the patient has fallen to less than 25 microsieverts per hour at one metre and the patients can be discharged from hospital. five nobel laureates have been intimately involved with the use of radioactive tracers in medicine. gamma imaging by either method described provides a view of the position and concentration of the radioisotope within the body. in the usa there are over 20 million nuclear medicine procedures per year among 311 million people, and in europe about 10 million among 500 million people. meanwhile a lot of i-131 is flushed down the hospital toilet and plumbing needs to be shielded accordingly.” covidien said that it was "making significant long-term capital investment in a new tc-99m generator facility at our us plant, and conversion from heu- to leu-based mo-99 production at our processing plant in the netherlands. this has led to its common use in developed countries where the probability of anyone having such a test is about one in two and rising. nru at chalk river was re-licensed to october 2016 when it ceased production, though aecl is keeping it on standby to march 2018.