QC failure halts Mo-99 supply in Australia

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

October 21, 2020 -- The failure of a batch of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) to pass a quality control (QC) inspection has caused an interruption in nuclear medicine procedures in Australia, according to an article published October 21 in the Guardian.

The QC failure occurred at a facility operated by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) that is the only production source in the country for Mo-99, which decays into technetium-99m (Tc-99m). Tc-99m is packaged into generators that are used for nuclear medicine studies, with ANSTO's facility in Lucas Heights producing about 12,000 doses per week.

According to the article, Tc-99m generators at the Lucas Heights site were found to have traces of Mo-99 inside, which caused the halting of the production run. The article stated that ANSTO personnel had identified the source of the problem and expected to have it fixed within a week.

In the meantime, ANSTO is making plans to import radioisotopes from countries like the U.S. and South Africa, which it has done during past disruptions. Still, many nuclear medicine facilities have been forced to cancel procedures, with the impact felt particularly at rural facilities, according to the article.


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