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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.
Michael McElfresh, Janelle Gunther, Craig Alford, Eric Fought, Robert Cook, Abbas Nikroo, Hongwei Xu, Jason C. Cooley, Robert D. Field, Robert E. Hackenberg, Art Nobile
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 49 | Number 4 | May 2006 | Pages 786-795
Technical Paper | Target Fabrication | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST49-786
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The sputtering of beryllium (Be) has been used at LLNL for nearly 30 years in the fabrication of laser targets. Several years ago the prospect of using sputtering to fabricate spherical Be capsules for National Ignition Facility (NIF) targets began to be explored and a basic strategy was developed that involved sputtering down onto plastic mandrels bouncing in a pan. While this appears to be very straightforward in principle, in practice sputtering has been used almost exclusively to make thin films (< 1 micron) on flat substrates. Thick films pose a significant challenge for sputtering while materials on spherical substrates are essentially unexplored. More recently, based on computational results, the point design for the first NIF ignition target capsule was specified as a Be capsule with Cu-doped layers of specific thickness, each layer with a different concentration of copper. While the work described here was motivated by the need to make these layered capsules, progress has been made in developing a more complete metallurgical understanding of the materials that are fabricated and the relationship between the sputter processing and microstructure of these spherical samples.