Recycling of Strontium-82 for use in medical diagnostic imaging

Award Year 

Currently, there is a very high demand for radioisotopes used in medical diagnostics and nuclear medicine. Heart imaging using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) utilizes the Strontium-82 (Sr-82) isotope, which is used to diagnose coronary artery disease. Hospitals nationwide currently diagnose about 700 patients per day using PET heart imaging, and this number is rapidly increasing. Given this high and increasing demand, there is tremendous pressure to produce the Sr-82 isotope.As the demand for this radioisotope (more) has increased, demand has at times outstripped production; and there is always the potential for a shortage, which can cause thousands of patients to wait for diagnosis. Th e Sr-82 recycling process produces this isotope without the long periods of downtime and maintenance required by particle accelerator production facilities. Clinical and hospital facilities return the used product from PET imaging to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Manhattan Isotopes, LLC (MIL) obtains this material from LANL and recycles it,reducing waste and producing a viable and valuable product.The LANL patented recycling process licensed to MIL produces a precursor radioisotope (Sr-82) required to make a radioactive heart imaging agent. Th e Sr-82 is called a “generator” because it generates the other, short-lived isotopes that are injected into the body for PET imaging. Th e LANL team working on the recycling process saw its potential for commercial production. As a result of their initiative, MIL was incorporated in New Mexico in 2009. The LANL Technology Transfer Division granted an exclusive license for the Sr-82 recycling process to MIL in 2010. Other awards followed, including a New Mexico Small Business Assistance agreement, and a LANL Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF), enabling the development and certification of a facility, as well as the verifi cationand validation of the recycling process. (less)