Isotope production

The use of targeted radionuclides for diagnostics and therapy has focused on a few specific radionuclides for decades, but massive improvements in cancer therapy are possible by selecting radionuclides with specific half-lives, emitted nuclides and gamma energies for different applications, moving towards personalized medicine. A recent trend finds global interest in other, potentially better, radionuclides steadily increasing. Where 99mTc was once practically the only diagnostic radionuclide in use, focus is shifting to e.g. include gamma-emitters that form so-called ‘matched pairs’ with corresponding therapeutic nuclides of the same element, like 64Cu/67Cu and 44Sc/47Sc. However, a current lack of supply in many medically relevant radionuclides limits the research and development into the use of these, and hence halting clinical trials. In addition, one of the main challenges in radiopharmaceutical development is presented by the highly variable specific activities of the used radionuclides which are generally far below the theoretical values. This is especially true for the large number of important medical radionuclides which are predominantly or exclusively produced via (n,γ) reactions in nuclear reactors. To support the use of new radionuclides, it is important that they are abundantly available, and in sufficiently high specific activity. Our research focusses on the (pre)clinical development of radionuclides which can be used to design new, patient-specific, radiotracers and therapeutics, using electrochemistry, liquid-liquid or solvent extraction, microfluidics, and ion exchange chromatography. Whenever possible we explore principles based on hot atom chemistry to achieve high specific activity of the produced radionuclides.

For more information or collaboration on this project, please contact Dr. ir. Robin de Kruijff (