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Fusion Science and Technology
Researchers report fastest purification of astatine-211 needed for targeted cancer therapy
Astatine-211 recovery from bismuth metal using a chromatography system. Unlike bismuth, astatine-211 forms chemical bonds with ketones.
In a recent study, Texas A&M University researchers have described a new process to purify astatine-211, a promising radioactive isotope for targeted cancer treatment. Unlike other elaborate purification methods, their technique can extract astatine-211 from bismuth in minutes rather than hours, which can greatly reduce the time between production and delivery to the patient.
“Astatine-211 is currently under evaluation as a cancer therapeutic in clinical trials. But the problem is that the supply chain for this element is very limited because only a few places worldwide can make it,” said Jonathan Burns, research scientist in the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s Nuclear Engineering and Science Center. “Texas A&M University is one of a handful of places in the world that can make astatine-211, and we have delineated a rapid astatine-211 separation process that increases the usable quantity of this isotope for research and therapeutic purposes.”
The researchers added that this separation method will bring Texas A&M one step closer to being able to provide astatine-211 for distribution through the Department of Energy’s Isotope Program’s National Isotope Development Center as part of the University Isotope Network.
Details on the chemical reaction to purify astatine-211 are in the journal Separation and Purification Technology.
Guido Van Oost
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 49 | Number 2 | February 2006 | Pages 327-336
Technical Paper | Plasma and Fusion Energy Physics - Transport | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST06-A1132
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The importance of radial (i.e., perpendicular to the magnetic surfaces) electric fields was already recognized early in the research on controlled thermonuclear fusion. An initial description of electric field effects in toroidal confinement was given by Budker. Such a configuration with combined magnetic and electric confinement ("magnetoelectric confinement", where the electric field provides a toroidal equilibrium configuration without rotational transform) was studied by Stix, who suggested that a reactor-grade plasma under magnetoelectric confinement (electric fields of order 1 MV/cm) may reach a quasi-steady-state with ambipolar loss of electrons and some suprathermal ions (e.g. 3.5 MeV -particles). Experiments such as on the Electric Field Bumpy Torus EFBT provided quite favourable scaling for particle confinement. The possible importance of radial electric fields for transport was in the past repeatedly established. Since the early days the plasma potential has been measured in tokamaks such as ST, TM-4 and ISX-B, but because no significant effects of the radial electric field Er on plasma transport were observed under the machine conditions at that time, no further research was conducted in tokamaks.