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JRC researchers test new method for producing a radioisotope for cancer radiotherapy

Cu-67 is a beta-emitting radioisotope that may be used for targeted cancer radiotherapy. It is the longest-lived of the radioisotopes of copper, with a half-life of 61.8 hours, and also emits gamma radiation that can be used for SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography) imaging of the radioisotope distribution.

Experimental results on a new method for the production of Cu-67, based on deuteron irradiation of an isotopically enriched Zn-70 target, have been published by researchers at the Joint Research Centre. The work has been carried out by the Radiotracers Group of the JRC Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, using the JRC Cyclotron in Ispra (Varese, Italy). The group uses the Cyclotron for research on nanoparticle radiolabelling for safety studies and also for studying production methods of medical radioisotopes.

Read the full article:

Ján Kozempel, Kamel Abbas, Federica Simonelli, Antonio Bulgheroni, Uwe Holzwarth, and Neil Gibson (2012). Preparation of 67Cu via deuteron irradiation of 70Zn. Radiochimica Acta.
doi: 10.1524/ract.2012.1939

Background:

The Scanditronix MC40 Cyclotron a the Joint Research Centre (Ispra)  is a highly versatile accelerator with a rather large energy range and the capability of accelerating protons and alpha particles (up to energies of 40MeV) as well as deuterons (up to 20MeV). This allows production of a wide variety of radioisotopes. Its characteristics make the cyclotron especially suitable for research purposes. The number of such flexible facilities is decreasing worldwide (39 in 2010), and this facility in Ispra is the only one with these characteristics in Southern Europe. In addition to research on production of medical radioisotopes, the JRC cyclotron is also used for radiolabelling of nanoparticle samples for nanotoxicology studies. Both research on radiolabelled nanoparticles and development of methods for medical radioisotope production are generally carried out in collaboration with external partners, thus supporting EU research groups through access to the Cyclotron facility.

Photo: Gamma spectrometry analysis of irradiated Zn-70 in the JRC Cyclotron. Copyright EU 2011.
Diagram (below): Predicted and experimental cross-sections of 67-Cu formation.

 Radiotracers

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