Reactor Petten record production of medical isotopes

10-06-2020

Last month, the reactor in Petten had a record production and was therefore able to continue to provide 30,000 patients daily with medical isotopes. The Corona crisis has caused complications for transport and logistics and due to this the European manufacturers are now turning to NRG. Jojanneke van Dongen, chain manager at NRG and responsible for the reliable supply to the market, says: "Even under the difficult circumstances that currently prevail in this Corona period, we have our processes in order and we can deliver reliably."

The logistic process has become more complicated because of the Corona virus and the transportation of nuclear medicines to the hospitals now takes longer. The volume of medical isotopes decreases over time and therefore the longer that transportation takes, the more NRG needs to produce in order to meet the demands in the hospitals. This is one of the reasons why there is a greater demand for medical isotopes.

“In addition to the high demand for Molybdenum-99, which is often used to diagnose life-threatening diseases such as cancer, we have noticed that the demand for isotope Lutetium-177 (used for treatment) is also very high,” says Van Dongen. The Lutetium-177 medical isotope is currently used to treat NeuroEndocrine Tumors (NET) and is under development for the treatment of prostate cancer, one of the most common cancers in men.

Every year more than 10,000 men, in The Netherlands, develop prostate cancer. Around 70% of these men are 65 years or older. Improved equipment and the use of medical isotopes make it possible to chart the clinical picture and improve the treatment.