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Brookhaven Partners in Isotope Research

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a new method to rapidly produce a radioactive isotope used to treat cancer. The current need for the isotope, actinium-225 (Ac-225), is far greater than the supply made possible by the traditional method of production, and the annual demand is growing. The 200 million-electron-volt proton beam of the Brookhaven Linac Isotope Producer (BLIP) is ideally suited to further advance the new method of producing the alpha-emitting isotope.

One of the primary barriers to wider use of Ac-225, which attacks cancer cells, has been the lack of an economically viable supply. Using proton beams, Los Alamos and Brookhaven could match current annual worldwide production in just a few days, overcoming critical shortages of this therapeutic isotope. A collaboration formed by Los Alamos, Brookhaven, and Oak Ridge national laboratories is developing a plan for full-scale production and a stable supply of Ac-225. Estimates are that two to three years of production scale-up and process development will be required before Ac-225 can be produced routinely.

2012-3109  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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