News | January 26, 2010

Government Selects Vendor for U.S. Supply of Nuclear Imaging Isotope

cardiolite Tc-99

January 26, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to help develop a U.S. supply of a radioisotope used in more than 20 million annual, domestic diagnostic medical procedures.

NNSA chose GEH to help create a reliable U.S. supply of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) without the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to respond to a shortage from repeated, unplanned outages at facilities where it currently is produced.

Mo-99 is the precursor of technetium-99m, the radioisotope most widely used in nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures. It is used for the detection of cancer, heart disease and thyroid disease, along with the study of brain and kidney function and the imaging of stress fractures, according to the Society of Nuclear Medicine.

GEH’s new technology does not rely on the fissioning of HEU, advancing a key nonproliferation initiative for the United States. Because GEH’s technology can be used in existing nuclear reactors, the need to build new reactors dedicated to isotope production is reduced.

“NNSA is committed to supporting technology that offers a new path forward for the creation of a reliable, domestic supply of molybdenum-99 without the use of HEU,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino. “This pragmatic approach addresses a critical U.S. medical community need while supporting President Obama's goal of reducing the risk posed by global use of HEU.”

Deploying GEH’s isotope production technology potentially could meet at least 50 percent of the United States’ projected supply needs for the isotope to help ensure patient access to vital medical diagnostic procedures. GEH will conduct research and development to confirm its technology at commercial scale and determine the infrastructure and logistics needed to support commercial operation.

“We are seeking some short-term solutions that have long-term potential, and the GEH technical solution provides a path forward that is quite attractive to meet both these needs,” said Robert Atcher, M.D., Ph.D., past president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, who evaluated GEH’s isotope technology.

With a half-life of only 66 hours, Mo-99 must be delivered to hospitals on a frequent and consistent basis. Mo-99 decays into technetium-99m, the radioisotope used in about 80 percent of all nuclear medicine procedures.

“We are pleased to work with NNSA to address this isotope challenge,” said Chris Monetta, GEH senior vice president, advanced programs, nuclear fuel cycle. “Our technical approach holds great promise for helping to ensure that a safe and reliable supply of molybdenum is available to help doctors care for their patients.”

GE has more than a half-century of experience in providing isotopes for medical and industrial applications. The GE Test Reactor (GETR), which began operating in 1959, was the first commercially licensed test reactor in the world. GE developed many of the standards and specifications used in the isotope market today. As a result of work performed at GETR, GE produced 30 isotopes, including Mo-99, for medical and industrial uses.

GEH recently announced a landmark agreement with Exelon Generation Company for a pilot project to meet growing demand for cobalt-60, a radioisotope used for treating cancer and other biomedical applications.

For more information: www.gepower.com

Related Content

Videos | SPECT-CT | December 12, 2018
This is a walk around of the new Spectrum Dynamics Veriton SPECT-CT nuclear imaging system introduced at the 2018 ...
Spectrum Dynamics Sues GE for Theft, Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition
News | SPECT Imaging | December 06, 2018
Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) cardiac imaging company Spectrum Dynamics filed a lawsuit Dec. 6,...
Subtle Medical Receives FDA Clearance, CE Mark for SubtlePET
Technology | PET Imaging | December 05, 2018
Subtle Medical announced 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market SubtlePET. Subtle...
Mirada Medical Joins U.K. Consortium Exploring Healthcare AI
News | Artificial Intelligence | December 04, 2018
Mirada Medical, a leading global brand in medical imaging software, will form part of an artificial intelligence (AI)...
GE Healthcare Recalls Millennium Nuclear Medicine Systems
News | Nuclear Imaging | November 15, 2018
GE Healthcare announced it is recalling its Millennium Nuclear Medicine Systems due to an incident in which the the top...
Artificial Intelligence Predicts Alzheimer's Years Before Diagnosis
News | Neuro Imaging | November 14, 2018
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology improves the ability of brain imaging to predict Alzheimer’s disease, according...
Researchers Awarded 2018 Canon Medical Systems USA/RSNA Research Grants
News | Radiology Imaging | November 13, 2018
The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Research & Education (R&E) Foundation recently announced the...
Subtle Medical Showcases Artificial Intelligence for PET, MRI Scans at RSNA 2018
News | Artificial Intelligence | November 13, 2018
At the 2018 Radiological Society of North America annual meeting (RSNA 2018), Nov. 25-30 in Chicago, Subtle Medical...
University of Missouri Research Reactor First U.S. I-131 Supplier in 30 Years

MURR is the only supplier of I 131 in the United States and the first U.S. supplier since the 1980s. Image courtesy of University of Missouri

News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | November 13, 2018
The University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) recently shipped its first batch of Iodine-131 (I-131), a...
MEDraysintell Projects Increasing Mergers and Acquisitions in Nuclear Medicine
News | Nuclear Imaging | November 07, 2018
With the recent announcement by Novartis to acquire Endocyte , interest from the conventional pharmaceutical industry...