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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.
C. A. Frederick, A. C. Forsman, J. F. Hund, S. A. Eddinger
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 55 | Number 4 | May 2009 | Pages 499-504
Technical Paper | Eighteenth Target Fabrication Specialists' Meeting | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST55-4-499
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Experiments on the Omega laser at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics require tantalum oxide (Ta2O5) aerogel thin films with a thickness ranging from 70 to 150 m and densities of 250 and 500 mg/cm3. Experiments have been done with the aerogel in a disk geometry with diameters ranging from ~2 to 3 mm with annular slots machined into it and without the slots. These experiments place demanding specifications on the targets in terms of thickness, dimensionality, and mass density variation. Future radiation experiments at the National Ignition Facility will require larger targets ~7 mm in diameter and 200 m thick with more complex features. In the past these targets have been conventionally machined from a starting billet of aerogel ~5 mm in diameter and height. Through a series of steps the aerogel was eventually machined down to the desired thickness. This was a long and arduous labor-intensive process that had high attrition rates and an overall yield of ~50%. We have improved this process by developing a new fabrication technique involving casting the foam to the desired thickness and then laser processing to create the desired features. This technique yields targets that meet the demanding specifications used in recent experiments while increasing throughput, yield, and available feature complexity in targets.