“A team of researchers has found a way to produce the key medical isotope technetium-99m using cyclotrons. Tens of millions of medical procedures are conducted around the world each year using technetium-99m for detecting disease in the heart and bones, as well as elsewhere in the body. Two aging nuclear reactors, including one at Ontario’s Chalk River, produce most of the global supply, but both have suffered major outages in recent years. The development will allow hospitals and clinics with existing cyclotrons — there are more than a dozen across Canada — to make the isotope. The CIHR-funded team was led by researchers at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics in Vancouver, and included scientists from the BC Cancer Agency, Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario, and the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization at McMaster University.”
In the photo, TRIUMF researcher Mark Preddy assembles an automated chemistry rig that is used to purify technetium.
(Photo courtesy of TRIUMF)