SNM: Tc-99m can be produced in cyclotron
Article Thumbnail ImageJune 12, 2012 -- A University of Alberta group has determined that high-quality technetium-99m (Tc-99m) can be produced in commercially viable quantities on a 19-MeV cyclotron.
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In human studies, technetium made on the cyclotron behaved exactly the same as the technetium produced from Canada's National Research Universal reactor at Chalk River, according to lead author Dr. Sandy McEwan, a researcher with the University of Alberta and medical director at Alberta Health Services' Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. He presented the results at this week's Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) meeting in Miami Beach, FL.

The researchers believe this is a significant step in the search for a nonreactor-based solution to replace the medial isotope stream produced by the aging Chalk River facility, which generates 40% of the world's medical radioisotope supply. The remainder of the supply comes from aging reactors in South Africa, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

However, further testing is still needed to determine the supply cost of cyclotron-produced technetium, and to confirm that suitable quantities can be produced via cyclotrons to serve the population, McEwan noted.