Thursday, April 9, 2020
KAERI Produces Radioisotope for Cancer Treatment
A Therapeutic Radioisotope
KAERI Produces Radioisotope for Cancer Treatment
  • By Choi Moon-hee
  • March 4, 2020, 14:10
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KAERI’s RFT-30 particle accelerator used for Cu-67 production

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) announced on March 3 that its Advanced Radiation Technology Institute has succeeded in producing Cu-67 by using its particle accelerator RFT-30 cyclotron.

Cu-67 is a radioisotope that emits both cancer diagnostic gamma rays and cancer therapeutic beta rays. It is emerging as a therapeutic radioisotope in that it has excellent therapeutic effects and its half-life is as short as 2.5 days. However, the production is very costly and tricky and no South Korean organization could produce it.

The institute made a coated target for Cu-67 production and then exposed the target to a proton beam to temporarily separate Cu-67 with its target separator. Then, it succeeded in permanently separating and extracting Cu-67 by ion exchange resin chromatography.

With the institute’s technique, tens of mCi of Cu-67 can be produced at a time. This amount is equivalent to the use of three research institutes. At present, approximately 10 organizations such as Seoul National University Hospital and Jeonnam National University Hospital are hoping to obtain it. The KAERI is planning to supply it in the second half of this year.

The KAERI has produced and supplied multiple medical radioisotopes by using its Hanaro research reactor and the particle accelerator. The examples include molybdenum-99, iodine-131, iridium-102 and zirconium-89. The institute is planning to increase the production capacity to hundreds of mCi for export to Asian countries.