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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.
R. C. Wolf
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 49 | Number 2 | February 2006 | Pages 441-454
Technical Paper | Plasma and Fusion Energy Physics - Fusion Reactor Issues | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST06-A1143
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Based on the fusion reaction between the nuclei of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium magnetic confinement fusion research aims to develop an electricity producing power plant. The principal concept is to confine a plasma, consisting of these nuclei and their electrons, in a magnetic field configuration in such a way that the thermal plasma can reach temperatures and densities at which sufficient fusion reactions take place to achieve a positive energy balance. The products of the fusion reactions are helium nuclei or -particles and neutrons. The first, also bound to the magnetic field lines, are supposed to transfer their energy to the thermal plasma and thus sustain the fusion reaction. The latter, because they are not confined by the magnetic field, can leave the plasma directly and are used to breed tritium from lithium and convert the fusion energy into heat.