BGN Technologies Introduces Novel Radioisotope Production Method for Nuclear Medicine Used in Imaging
Novel technique enables simultaneous production of molybdenum-99 and other isotopes without the need for highly enriched, weapons grade uranium
BEER-SHEVA, Israel – June 5, 2019 – BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University (BGU), introduces a novel method for producing radioisotopes for nuclear medicine and medical imaging technologies such as CT scan and PET-CT.
Developed by Dr. Alexander Tsechanski from the BGU Department of Nuclear Engineering, the new technique obviates the need for highly enriched, weapons grade uranium and a nuclear reactor. Nuclear medicine often necessitates the use of technetium-99m (Tc-99m) as the isotope for imaging, an unstable technetium isotope with a only a six hour half-life which requires onsite production. In order to produce it in an economically efficient way, currently it requires weapons grade, highly enriched uranium and a nuclear reactor to generate molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), which decays into technetium-99m (Tc-99m).
The new invention uses the naturally occurring and stable molybdenum-100 (Mo-100) isotope and a linear electron accelerator to generate Mo-99 and Tc-99m[i]. This process can also simultaneously generate other short-lived radioisotopes such as F-18, O-15, N-13 and C-11 as byproducts for use in PET scans.
Zafrir Levy, Senior VP, Business Development, Exact Sciences & Engineering of BGN Technologies, stated, "Technetium-99m is a metastable nuclear isomer of technetium-99 that is used in tens of millions of medical diagnostic procedures annually, making it the most commonly used medical radioisotope. The need for uranium and a nuclear reactor to produce this radioisotope is creating a shortage of this important substance. Dr. Tsechanski offers a more feasible, cost-effective method, using cost effective electron accelerators, for generating Mo99/Tc-99m. We are currently looking for partners for further developing and commercializing this important invention."
About BGN Technologies
BGN Technologies is the technology company of Ben-Gurion University, Israel. The company brings technological innovations from the lab to the market and fosters research collaborations and entrepreneurship among researchers and students. To date, BGN Technologies has established over 100 startup companies in the fields of biotech, hi-tech, and cleantech as well as initiating leading technology hubs, incubators, and accelerators. Over the past decade, it has focused on creating long-term partnerships with multinational corporations such as Deutsche Telekom, Dell-EMC, IBM, PayPal, and Bayer, securing value and growth for Ben-Gurion University as well as for the Negev region. For more information, visit the BGN Technologies website.
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[i] Fedorchenkoa D.V. and Tsechanskib (2019). Photoneutronic aspects of the molybdenum-99 production by means of electron linear accelerators. Nuclear Inst. and Methods in Physics Research B, 438:6-13