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Our medical applications

Through the flexible operation of our centrifuge technology, we produce medical radioisotopes for three specific areas of the medical sector – diagnostics, therapy and pain relief.

Each year, more than one million patient treatments are performed using medical radioisotopes.

Diagnostics

Nuclear diagnostic imaging techniques enable doctors around the world to identify diseases at an early stage, to track disease progression, to allow for accurate disease staging and to provide predictive information about the likely success of alternative therapy options.

We produce enriched Mo98 and Mo100, that after irradiation is activated to Mo99. Mo99 decays in 99mTc. 99mTc is considered to be the ‘work horse’ of the medical diagnostic imaging techniques.

One of the important diagnostic techniques is gamma imaging. Nuclear medicine departments worldwide use gamma cameras to detect diseases of various organs including heart, brain, bone, lung and the thyroid. We produce the stable precursors for the radioisotopes Gallium67 (i.e. Zinc68), Indium111 (i.e. Cadmium112) and Iodine123 (i.e. Xenon124) which are all used in these cameras. Another diagnostic radioisotope is Iodine124 which is used for PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and for which we produce the stable precursor Tellurium124.

Diagnostics image Diagnostics image

Therapy

Radioisotopes are also used extensively for therapeutic purposes. Brachytherapy is the procedure of using temporary irradiation very close to the area of disease, in particular for cancer and stenosis. We produce Iridium191 for Iridium192 sources used in remotely controlled afterloaders. Another example of brachytherapy is the use of radioactive sources (‘seeds’) in tumours, in particular prostate cancer. A significant percentage of patients diagnosed with this disease are treated with these radioactive seeds. The radioactive source often used in the seeds is Iodine125 (made from Xenon124).

Other examples of therapeutic radioisotopes are Copper67 (produced from Zin68c) and Bromine77, produced from Selenium77.

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Pain relief

Palliative care of pain arising from secondary metastasis derived from spread of breast, prostate and lung cancers is under development. A number of radioisotopes are already being used on a regular basis, while the potential of other isotopes is being investigated. One such isotope is Rhenium188 which is produced from Tungsten186.

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