August 10, 2022

KAERI builds a self-production system of 2 isotopes for cancer diagnosis

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) said on Tuesday it had developed equipment to automatically mass-produce two isotopes – oxalate and zirconium-89 chloride (Zr-89) – to diagnose the cancer.

The research team, led by Dr. Park Jeong-hoon of KAERI’s Advanced Radiation Technology Institution, successfully produced Zr-89 by developing a control system, nuclide separation program and graphical user interface necessary for the manufacturing equipment after the optimization of the radiochemistry. separation process.

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) said on Tuesday that it had developed equipment to automatically mass-produce two zirconium-89 (Zr-89) radioisotopes for cancer diagnosis.

Zr-89, a medical isotope, has a half-life of 3.3 days and can remain effective in the body longer than other isotopes for only a few hours, allowing more accurate diagnosis of diseases. As a result, zirconium isotopes are used for a variety of medical purposes, including cancer diagnosis, immunotherapy, and verifying the behavior of nanomaterials in the body, the demand for which is increasing rapidly worldwide.

The Zr-89 oxalate and chloride produced by the newly developed device has 99.9% purity with the highest quality in the world. The institute can manufacture more than 100 millicuries per day and provide a stable supply to 20 major national hospitals and research institutes.

Zr-89 is used for imaging cancerous tissue distributed throughout the body.

According to the purpose of the study, Zr-89 oxalate is used to synthesize proteins and drug antibodies, and Zro89 chloride is used to synthesize small organic molecules and nanomaterial drugs.

KAERI said it is pushing to export Zr-89 to China. The institute added that Argentina, Thailand, Macedonia and the Republic of South Africa have requested the introduction of the Zr-89 production system through the International Atomic Energy Agency. (IAEA) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

“Zr-89 is a radionuclide that receives worldwide attention as a next-generation medicine,” said Professor Min Jung-joon from the Department of Nuclear Medicine, Hwasun Hospital, Chonnam National University. , who also chairs the Korean Society of Nuclear Medicine. “The recent achievement laid the foundation to become the world leader in nuclear medicine, including antibody and immune response and real-time pharmacokinetic imaging.”

Lee Nam-ho, Director of Advanced Radiation Technology Institution Chief of KAERI, also said, “Since the global market potential of Zr-89 is strong, the location of Zr-89 manufacturing equipment is likely to make the isotope the main player in the national radiation industry. export item.”