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.
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.”