Canadian group reaches milestone on Tc-99m project

By staff writers

January 19, 2015 -- Canadian researchers say they can now produce sufficient quantities of the isotope technetium-99m (Tc-99m) in a six-hour production run to satisfy demand for 500 nuclear medicine scans.

At that rate, a single production run would be enough to satisfy the daily demand for a population the size British Columbia's, according to a statement from an interdisciplinary research team that includes TRIUMF, the BC Cancer Agency, the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization, the Lawson Health Research Institute, and the University of British Columbia.

The current success of producing 34 curies of Tc-99m over a six-hour run was attained on a TR-series cyclotron at TRIUMF in Vancouver, the group said. The TR cyclotrons are manufactured by Advanced Cyclotron Systems, but the technique could be used by various brands of cyclotrons already in use at hospitals.

The milestone shows the feasibility of decentralized Tc-99m production that is not based on a nuclear reactor, which would help reduce the threat of an isotope shortage, the group wrote. The new process will enable Canada to move away from reactor-based production of molybdenum-99, the parent isotope currently required for generation of Tc-99m, while providing a safe and secure supply chain for Canadian patients.

Copyright © 2015

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