36th Annual CNS Conference - 2016 June 19-22

Presented at:
36th Annual CNS Conference
2016 June 19-22
Toronto, Canada
Session Title:
Plenary 2A: Innovation in Health and Nuclear Medicine

P. Schaffer (TRIUMF)


Concern over past and impending shortages has led to renewed interest in alternative production methods for technetium-99m (99mTc), the world’s most commonly used medical isotope. With 30 to 40 million patients relying on this isotope every year, the world is in need of a stable, secure and modern supply of 99mTc. Many of the >950 medical cyclotrons around the world today operate between 16 and 24 MeV, an ideal range for the production of 99mTc via the 100Mo(p,2n) reaction. Canada itself is in an enviable position, with most major urban centres possessing a cyclotron capable of direct 99mTc production from 100Mo. Since 2010, a consortium of 5 institutions from across the country, have been studying the parameters for producing 99mTc on three different cyclotron models: A PETtrace (at 16.5 MeV), a TR19 and more recently a TR30 (at 24 MeV). The team has now demonstrated a reliable commercial scale (TBq) process for producing 99mTc using 100Mo coated tantalum plates at energies up to 24 MeV. Our approach was approved by Health Canada and a clinical trial is currently underway.

Beyond 99mTc, TRIUMF’s Life Sciences research program is also keenly interested in leveraging the laboratory’s high power 500 MeV cyclotron to produce scarce and costly therapeutic isotopes for both research and clinical application. TRIUMF seeks to leverage its unique infrastructure and deep expertise in high power cyclotron target design to produce and isolate a number of promising radiotherapeutic isotopes. Recent efforts in the production and isolation of 209,211At, 223,224,225Ra, 225Ac and 213Bi from proton irradiation of 238U and 232Th will be discussed. Progress on the isolation of 211At (via 211Rn decay) and 225Ac will be presented. Both 211At and 225Ac are alphaemitting isotopes with the potential to treat micro-metastases and/or monocellular malignancies such as leukemia. TRIUMF seeks to become a major supplier of radiotherapeutic isotopes and enable clinical trials, potentiating a new paradigm in cancer treatment for all Canadians

Overall, Canada possesses a powerful isotope production infrastructure enabled by a coast-tocoast fleet of particle accelerators (cyclotrons). Through coordination and a sustained investment, these machines are capable of providing a stable, secure and reliable supply of life-saving diagnostic and therapeutic isotopes for years to come.

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