KAERI Develops Zr-89 Production Device

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute said this week it had developed a device to produce two pharmaceutical isotopes including Zr-89, which has a half-life of 3.3 days, making it one of the longer-lasting isotopes that extends options for viable cancer diagnosing.

KAERI device“Zr-89 is a radionuclide receiving worldwide spotlight as a next-generation medicine. The recent achievement has laid a basis for leading the world in nuclear medicine, including antibody and immune reaction and real-time pharmacokinetic imaging,” explained Professor Mni Jung-joon of the Nuclear Medicine Department of the Hwasun Hospital associated with Chonnam National University.

KAERI’s Advanced Radiation Technology Institution Chief Lee Nam-ho said the global market for Zr-89 has the potential to become Korea’s major export item in the field of radiation pharmacology, the Korea Biomedical Review reported.

Several countries, including Argentina, Thailand and the Republic of South Africa pushed for development of the production system going through International Atomic Energy Agency and Korea International Cooperation Agency channels.

The device, according to the Review, can produce 100 millicuries a day of both Zr-89 oxalate and chloride with the exceptional quality rating of 99.9 percent purity. Production at this rate could supply 20 major health centers and research laboratories with a ready supply of these isotopes.

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