Breakthrough method may improve cost, efficiency of radioisotope production

Israeli researchers have created a novel method to produce molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and technetium-99m that is more efficient and cost-effective compared to traditional radioisotope production techniques.

The approach uses a linear electron accelerator and naturally-occurring molybdenum-100, eliminating the need for a nuclear reactor or enriched uranium, according to the method’s creators at BGN Technologies, a company out of Ben-Gurion University (BGU) in Israel.

Additionally, the linear electron accelerator could eliminate the production of liquid radioactive wastes that come with traditional methods and address the problem of creating and storing unstable radioisotopes.

“Due to the short half-lives of 99Mo and 99mTc long-term storage is impossible and medical institutions require continuous supply to prevent delays in the scheduled diagnostic procedures,” wrote Alexander Tsechanski, PhD, with BGU’s Department of Nuclear Engineering.

Additionally, the method allows for the simultaneous production of other radioisotopes with short half-lives for PET and PET/CT imaging.

BGN Technologies is currently looking for partners to build out and commercialize its technology, according to a news release.

The  approach was described in full in the journal Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms.