Canadian Isotope Project enters final stretch

Feb 15, 2012

A research project exploring the potential for making medical isotopes with X-rays from a particle accelerator instead of a nuclear reactor is about to move to the large scale. The Canadian Isotope Project, led by the Canadian Light Source (CLS) and partners including the National Research Council of Canada, and medical researchers in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto, is set to scale up their work to production levels with the delivery of a new particle accelerator built by Ontario-based Mevex Corporation.

"We are very excited to be passing this key milestone in the project," says Mark de Jong, CLS Director of Accelerators and project leader. "We have made a lot of progress over the last year in terms of the project's theoretical work, refining different pieces of the process and moving construction and design of our forward. With the delivery of this full-scale accelerator we can now move to demonstrate what we set out to do – produce safely, reliably and affordably."

The Canadian Isotope Project uses a particle accelerator to bombard a target made of molybdenum-100 metal with high-energy X-rays. The knock a neutron out of the nuclei of some of the molybdenum-100 atoms in the target, converting them to the isotope molybdenum-99. After being chemically separated from the target, the molybdenum-99 will be shipped to hospitals where it decays into technetium-99m and injected into patients for diagnosing heart conditions.

Two or three accelerator systems like the one now being installed at the CLS could supply all of Canada's needs for technetium-99m.

Researchers at the National Research Council in Ottawa have been performing theoretical modeling of key aspects of the production process and producing small quantities of medical isotope using the same process as will be used at the CLS with a smaller . Isotopes produced by the full-scale facility at the CLS will be chemically separated from the metal target by scientists at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre and assessed by doctors at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and University Health Network in Toronto.

The Canadian Isotope Project was one of four projects funded by the Government of Canada's Non-reactor-based Isotope Supply Contribution Program (NISP). The CLS-led project received $10 million from NISP with an additional $2 million from the Province of Saskatchewan. NISP was established to fund research into ways to produce medical without using a in the wake of shortages caused by difficulties with Canada's NRU research reactor.

The NISP projects are all working to produce the most used medical isotope, technetium-99m, which is used in approximately 5500 medical scans daily in Canada.

Installation of the accelerator at the CLS is expected to be completed by the end of February, with the first experiments with the full-size system taking place in April. The first batch of technetium-99m is anticipated to be ready for shipment for testing at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre by the end of April or early May.

Explore further: Could 'Jedi Putter' be the force golfers need?

More information: www.lightsource.ca/medicalisotopes

Provided by Canadian Light Source

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Team aims to produce medical isotopes without nuclear reactor

Jan 25, 2011

Producing medical isotopes safely, cheaply and reliably without using a nuclear reactor or weapons-grade uranium is the aim of a research project led by the Canadian Light Source (CLS) along with the National Research Council ...

Cyclotrons could alleviate medical isotope shortage

Jun 07, 2010

The most widely used medical radioisotope, Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), is essential for an estimated 70,000 medical imaging procedures that take place daily around the world. Aging reactors, production intermittencies and threats ...

New method for manufacturing radio isotopes

Sep 11, 2008

Thanks to a newly-developed technology at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, global shortages of radio isotopes for cancer diagnosis could be a thing of the past. This is the message from Prof. Bert Wolterbeek ...

Cancer diagnosis isotopes from Garching

Jun 27, 2011

The German Federal Ministry of Health has awarded more than one million euros in research and development funding for the efficient production of an important cancer diagnostic agent at the research neutron ...

Recommended for you

Could 'Jedi Putter' be the force golfers need?

Apr 18, 2014

Putting is arguably the most important skill in golf; in fact, it's been described as a game within a game. Now a team of Rice engineering students has devised a training putter that offers golfers audio, ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Apr 17, 2014

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Graeme
not rated yet Feb 15, 2012
It sounds more like they would chemically separate technetium from molybdenum, rather than two isotopes of molybdenum.

More news stories

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...