Radioisotope production heats up

March 10, 2004

MDS Nordion has begun making commercial quantities of rhenium 186 (Re-186) and high-specific-activity lutetium 177 (Lu-177). Demand is growing for these radioisotopes for use in research aimed at developing new cancer therapies. Lu-177, a low-energy beta

MDS Nordion has begun making commercial quantities of rhenium 186 (Re-186) and high-specific-activity lutetium 177 (Lu-177). Demand is growing for these radioisotopes for use in research aimed at developing new cancer therapies. Lu-177, a low-energy beta emitter, shows promise against small tumors. It has a relatively long 6.65-day half-life, which allows more sophisticated procedures to be used for its purification and synthesis. The long half-life also makes Lu-177 easier to combine with biologically active compounds. Re-186 is being investigated for a range of radiotherapeutic applications. It is currently being used for pain palliation from cancerous metastases in bones. Both Lu-177 and Re-186 emit gamma radiation that enables imaging.