Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation (AMIC) and the U.S Department of Energy (DoE), through the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), are partnering on a two-year project with the Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology in the Ukraine, to develop and market compact systems technology for producing medical isotopes.
The Global Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention program under DoE's National Nuclear Security Administration and AMIC will each contribute $760,000 to the project.
Nearly 20 million medical isotope procedures are performed annually in the United States, including cardiac evaluations, infection imaging and cancer treatment; however, most medical isotopes are produced by nuclear reactors in foreign countries and are imported. The situation has led to shortages and supply interruptions, which adversely impact patient healthcare.
One alternative is domestic isotope production using electronic systems for neutron generation instead of aging nuclear reactor technologies.
Relative to nuclear reactors and large accelerators, compact systems are expected to reduce the overall cost and increase the flexibility needed to produce smaller amounts of research and commercial isotopes for applications in diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine, according to AMIC.
The new production method funded by this project is based on the Alternative Method for Producing Medical Isotopes (AMPMI) technology being developed at the Kharkiv Institute. The AMPMI method generates an intense neutron beam at high fluence rate under controlled conditions, with an advanced target design for efficient production of neutron-rich medical isotopes.
"The AMPMI neutron technology complements our current proton LINAC at our first production facility in Kennewick, Wash.," said Jim Katzaroff, CEO at AMIC. "We anticipate that the AMPMI neutron technology will provide the opportunity to produce a wide variety of medical isotopes on a smaller scale, closer to the point of use, than isotope production in nuclear reactors."