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  • MRI scan of the lungs

New Urenco Stable Isotopes product for detection of lung disease and abnormalities

27 January 2020

Urenco Stable Isotopes has signed a new contract to supply enriched Xenon-129 for medical purposes. Pending Food and Drug Administration approval, the enriched Xenon can be used to enhance considerably lung MRIs, allowing for the detection of abnormalities and diseases at a far earlier stage.

There is potentially an increased demand for Xenon and this is one of the reasons why we are currently investing in the expansion of our Stable Isotopes facility in the Netherlands.

The enriched Xe-129 isotope (more than 80% enriched) becomes part of a gas mix. The gas mix is inhaled by the patient and while inside the lungs, an MRI is performed. Before the patient inhales the gas mix, the Xenon is 'hyperpolarized' (negative charge of the cell membranes increased). This improves the MRI scan by a factor of 100,000, making the lung structures highly visible. As a result, various abnormalities and diseases become detectable at a much earlier stage than with the current method.

FDA approval
The gas mix and the hyperpolarizer are currently in the final phase of the FDA approval process. If they pass this stage, the product is ready to be put on the market and used as a medical application. The FDA is an agency of the United States federal government, which controls the quality of food and medicines.

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About Urenco

Urenco is an international supplier of enrichment services and fuel cycle products with its head office based close to London, UK. With plants in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA, it operates in a pivotal area of the nuclear fuel supply chain which enables the sustainable generation of electricity for consumers around the world.

Using centrifuge technology designed and developed by Urenco, the Urenco Group provides safe, cost effective and reliable uranium enrichment services for power generation within a framework of high environmental, social and corporate responsibility standards.

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