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Alpha-Emitting Radionuclides for Medicine


Development of Extraction and Deep Purification Technologies of Alpha-Emitting Radionuclides for Medical Application

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-ISO/Isotopes/Fission Reactors
  • MED-RAD/Radiomedicine/Medicine

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Novozhilov V V

Leading Institute
FEI (IPPE), Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk


  • Bio-Nucleonics, Inc., USA, FL, Miami\nUniversity of Jyväskylä, Finland, Jyväskylä

Project summary

An application of beta- and gamma-radionuclidcs for medical diagnostics and cancer diseases treatment is the well-developed and practically applied technology in many countries over the world. However, alpha-emitting nuclides have an incontestable advantage over beta- and gamma-emitting nuclides in their characteristics, which are important ones for cancer diseases treatment, namely: emission energy value and alpha-particles path. Besides, additional demands are laid to those radionuclides applied in the medicine: a short half-life, an absence of radioactive daughter products, an ability to form stable compounds with monoclonal antibodies. The alpha-emitting nuclides application in the medical practice is limited by a small number of isotopes which have the mentioned characteristics. Actinium-225 and bismuth-213 are just these isotopes. They meet the mentioned requirements but until now they haven't been applied in the medicine. A technology of the extraction and deep purification of these isotopes seems to be complicated one, and requires the detailed study and substantiation. During this project's execution it is supposed:
1) to prove and substantiate a technology of the alpha-emitting radionuclidcs extraction and deep purification (thorium-229, actinium-225, and bisniuth-213) based on the limited quantity of uranium-233;
2) to develop radiometric and chemico-spectral methods of the analysis of the alpha-emitting radionuclides purity and quality;
3) to prepare recommendations on a development of Th-229/Ac-225 and Ac-225/Bi-213 generators, and on their medical application. The first, generator is a raw material for the second one - which is a medical generator to be used in a hospital directly, (These developments have to serve as a base of the production of alpha-nuclide generators for serial deliveries to medical institutions);
4) to involve weapons scientists in the long-term project on medical products manufacturing;
5) to reorientate weapons scientific researches and weapons production to decide tasks of the civil sector.

The SSC RF IPPE has the following capacities to solve the project's tasks:

- teams of specialists - scientists, engineers, designers - who obtained an experience of the production of radionuclides for medical application as a result of conversion programs participation;
- a sufficient quantity of the raw material (uranium-233 stored for about 30 years) which contains a considerable quantity of daughter thorium-229 isotope;
- an experience of thorium-229 isotope extraction from the raw material;
- a "hot" processing laboratory with necessary infrastructure including biological shield, three-zone lay-out of the premises, special sewage system, wastes management system; ail the above mentioned make it possible to solve the project's tasks at the modern level.

The project has a large social importance, its successful execution will allow to use the more effective means for cancer disease treatment.