CERN and the JRC to scale up production of alpha-emitters against cancer

September 23, 2015

A novel, accelerator-driven method could produce nuclides for targeted alpha therapy of cancer in practically unlimited amounts, overcoming current obstacles for its wider use due to a limited production of alpha-emitters. The JRC and the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) have embarked to explore the potential of the jointly proposed method.

The method for production of 225Actinium and its daughter nuclide 213Bismuth, the two most promising radionuclides for application in targeted alpha therapy, is based on the irradiation of natural 232Thorium with high energetic protons (200-800 Mega electronvolts). CERN is one of the few facilities world-wide capable of producing protons of such high energy. In addition, the combination with CERN's mass separating system ISOLDE provides a unique capability of removing undesirable contaminants such as 227Actinium from the product. ISOLDE stands for Isotope Separator On Line Device.

Consequently, the combination of JRC's long-lasting experience in targeted alpha therapy research and CERN's exceptional facilities provides a world-wide unique opportunity to advance the production of 225Ac and 213Bi for the benefit of cancer patients in Europe and world-wide.

The JRC has participated in studies on their use in cancer treatment since 1997, first in clinical studies on leukemia, and later on Non-hodgkins lymphoma, brain tumors, bladder carcinoma, malignant melanoma, neuroendocrine tumors and prostate cancer. The research has demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy and safety of using 225Ac and 213Bi.

The JRC's Institute for Transuranium Elements (ITU) is one of the only three institutions worldwide capable of producing the valuable alpha emitters in levels that are clinically relevant. The other two are Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory and Russia's Institute for Physics and Power Engineering (IPPE).

To date the further development and widespread commercial application of TAT has been hampered by the limited supply of 225Ac and 213Bi. The currently used process cannot be scaled up easily as it relies on the extraction of Thorium-229 from nuclear weapons material (Uranium-233), which is hardly accessible. Hence the JRC-CERN collaboration opens the door to alternative solutions.

Explore further: CERN: A milestone toward a higher-energy nuclear physics facility

Related Stories

Researchers create much-needed medical isotopes

July 9, 2015

No one likes to see leftovers go to waste, and especially not nuclear physicists. Now the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) is helping to get the recipe right. The Radioactivity Group at NPL is supporting the nuclear physics ...

Cancer therapy gets a boost from new isotope

April 12, 2012

(Phys.org) -- A new medical isotope project at Los Alamos National Laboratory shows promise for rapidly producing major quantities of a new cancer-treatment agent, actinium 225 (Ac-225).

High-impact radiopeptide therapy halts neuroendocrine cancer

June 6, 2011

Research introduced at SNM's 58th Annual Meeting could be a sign of hope for patients with neuroendocrine cancer not responding well to standard therapies. Most radiotherapies use medical isotopes that emit beta radiation. ...

JRC thematic report: Science for food

May 13, 2015

The JRC has released a new report on its scientific support to EU's "from farm to fork" policy which ensures Europeans enjoy safe and nutritious food, while facilitating the food industry to work under the best possible conditions. ...

Recommended for you

Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity

November 17, 2017

Specially tailored, ultrafast pulses of light can trigger neurons to fire and could one day help patients with light-sensitive circadian or mood problems, according to a new study in mice at the University of Illinois.

Strain-free epitaxy of germanium film on mica

November 17, 2017

Germanium, an elemental semiconductor, was the material of choice in the early history of electronic devices, before it was largely replaced by silicon. But due to its high charge carrier mobility—higher than silicon by ...

New imaging technique peers inside living cells

November 16, 2017

To undergo high-resolution imaging, cells often must be sliced and diced, dehydrated, painted with toxic stains, or embedded in resin. For cells, the result is certain death.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.