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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.
H. Huang, A. Nikroo, R. B. Stephens, S. A. Eddinger, D. R. Wall, K. A. Moreno, H. W. Xu
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 55 | Number 4 | May 2009 | Pages 356-366
Technical Paper | Eighteenth Target Fabrication Specialists' Meeting | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST55-356
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National Ignition Facility (NIF) specifications require nondestructive, independent profiling of copper, argon, and oxygen in a delivered beryllium capsule. We use a combination of two methods to accomplish this goal: (a) model-enhanced energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) of witness shell fragments for destructive profiling of all three elements in a select sample within a batch and (b) differential radiography (DR) to profile copper and argon on multiple shells to nondestructively prove the sample-to-sample consistency within a batch. This combination fully qualifies the delivered shells. For EDS, we developed a physics model and fabricated standards to quantify low concentrations of relatively light elements in a very low-Z matrix. For model validation, we produced sputtered beryllium capsules containing a single dopant in each shell and used contact radiography (CR) to characterize the dopant profiles to 5 to 10% accuracy. The copper calibration was also checked against bulk Cu-Be standards with known composition, and the argon and oxygen calibrations were also checked against the X-ray absorption edge spectroscopy (Edge method) and the weight gain methods. Together, the EDS method gives ±0.1, ±0.05, and ±0.2 at.% accuracy for copper, argon, and oxygen, respectively, in NIF specification capsules. For DR, we conduct two CR measurements with the X-ray tube running at 9 and 30 kVp, respectively. The differential response between copper and argon enables elemental separation. The dopant profiles can be measured to ±0.1 at.% for NIF specification capsules. The oxygen profile in DR must be inferred from the EDS measurement. In the production work flow, we use EDS to obtain the oxygen profile and use it as input to the DR measurement. We then check that the copper and argon profiles obtained from DR and those from EDS are consistent. The average argon and copper contents from either method can also be checked against the results from the Edge method. These two levels of cross-checks offer critical assurances to the data integrity in production metrology.