Medical use of Isotopes

My wife works in Nuclear Medicine, and on a couple of occasions now due to tightening of regulation, shrinking sources for supplies and other factors. It’s a fascinating field to me since it involves science to a high degree.  My great uncle says she “fixes sick Bombs,” which may explain why some people freak out when i tell them what she does.  It instills images of nuclear bombs etc, so even though my uncle is jesting I bet it’s close to what some people actually think.   Nuclear medicine has exploded as a modality, especially with the combination with other technologies, such as CAT scans and PET.  My wife is actually working with the latest in dual-modality equipment in the state. The combining of the technologies should help Nuke Med to shave it’s old “unclear medicine” name, due to the large pixel size of the images.  The software for these cameras has come a long way, to 3-d rendering of the heart actually pumping.

affectionately called Unclear Medicine due to the less than crisp images, it is the one of the best imaging for detecting unnatural growths, bone density, and heart function. 

So this brings me to an article I found that might help one of the most difficult parts of the job: obtaining the isotope needed from a very limited supply

“Researchers in Canada have proposed a new way to make key medical isotopes that avoids the need for nuclear reactors and weapons-grade uranium.

The alternative technique uses a particle accelerator and could help secure a long-term, reliable supply of technetium-99m, which is a radioisotope that is used in around 80% of all diagnostic nuclear medicine tests worldwide. “

2 thoughts on “Medical use of Isotopes

  1. Here is an article relating to this from the SNM talking about medical isotope shortages for this


    talks about alternate pathways. The radiopharmacists that I know in the mid-missouri region say rumor has it MURR could be up in running in as little four years. The public reaction would be worry about additional radiation exposure to college kids, but the reactor is already there so the potential for additional exposure is already there.

    In addition, I spoke with one of the radiopharmacists recently, who said that the yeild is a big issue with the accelerator produced technetium. Clearly, there is still some work

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.