Mar 14 – 16, 2016
INFN Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro
Europe/Rome timezone

Particle accelerators for the production of medical radioisotopes

Mar 15, 2016, 10:10 AM
"Villi" Meeting Room (INFN Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro)

"Villi" Meeting Room

INFN Laboratori Nazionali di Legnaro

Viale dell'Università, 2 Legnaro (Padova), Italy


Adriano Duatti (University of Ferrara)


Radioactive isotopes play a key role in biology to unearth fundamental cellular processes. By acting as labeling tags, gamma-emitting radionuclides are useful tools to visualize the interaction of molecular probes targeting specific biomolecules in living organisms by means of external detectors. This information is an essential component of the current paradigm of molecular imaging, a diagnostic approach aimed at elucidating the origin and intrinsic nature of diseases at the molecular level. In turn, this fundamental knowledge can be used to develop more efficient therapeutic strategies that are tailored to a single individual based on his/her chemical profile (chemotype). A key discovery has been that there exists a subset of radioisotopes that naturally manifest favorable biological properties for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes because their associated elements either have a recognized key biological role or mimic the behavior of biologically active elements. A classical example is provided by iodine radioisotopes widely employed for imaging thyroid function and for therapy of thyroid cancer as a result of the natural involvement of iodine in thyroid metabolism. Other relevant examples are offered by rubidium-82 mimicking potassium ions for imaging cardiac function, and strontium-89 and radium-223 employed in the treatment of bone cancer as analogs of calcium ions. Although some radioisotopes are obtained through nuclear reactions characterized by high cross sections for neutron or proton irradiation of suitable targets, some biologically relevant radionuclides are extremely difficult to obtain by conventional methods, relying on available nuclear reactors and low-energy, low-current cyclotrons, in sufficient amounts to allow their widespread medical use. These include, among others, copper, zinc, iron and manganese radioisotopes having highly interesting nuclear and biological properties suitable for both diagnosis and therapy. This lecture will review the crucial role played by nuclear physics in developing efficient methods for the production of medical radionuclides and current challenges in achieving satisfactory yields of formation of highly interesting and potentially useful radionuclides that are still not available in sufficient amounts to the medical community.
If a proceedings is prepared,<br></br> will you submit a contribution? Yes

Primary author

Adriano Duatti (University of Ferrara)

Presentation materials