The University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) has shipped its first batch of iodine-131 (I-131), making the facility the sole supplier of the radioisotope in the U.S. and the first U.S. supplier since the 1980s.
I-131 is used for diagnostic imaging and in the treatment of cancer and hyperthyroidism. Because the thyroid gland naturally absorbs iodine, the radioisotope can be used to target thyroid tumors to eradicate cancerous tissue.
"Supplying I-131 is part of a strategic initiative by the University of Missouri and MURR to address medical isotope shortages and further the university's research mission," said David Robertson, executive director of MURR, in a statement.
MURR operates all year, 6.5 days a week.