Medical Isotopes

What are Medical Isotopes

Medical isotopes are widely used throughout the world. The demand for both diagnostic and therapeutic isotopes is growing considerably, especially in the US and Europe. A medical isotope is a radioactive nuclide that, when it decays, provides an energetic particle, such as an alpha, beta, positron, or gamma ray, that allows for its location to be detected in the body, as with a diagnostic isotope, or for the destruction of unwanted cells in the body, as with a therapeutic isotope.

The use of medical isotopes in the broader field of nuclear medicine has been standard for decades, with ongoing research in the development of new diagnostic tracer and radiotherapeutic isotopes. Radioactive isotopes (radioisotopes) are either found in nature or are produced artificially using nuclear reactors or accelerators. Both diagnostic and therapeutic isotopes are important in nuclear medicine, and it is important to have an abundant and reliable supply such that we can enjoy the benefits of these advanced medical technologies in the future. Whether diagnosing the function of an organ, detecting cancer, or destroying cancerous cells, medical isotopes will continue to be vitally important to our healthcare system.

There are many nuclear-reactor produced radioisotopes that are used in nuclear medicine today, and many that are in development will play important roles in the future for our healthcare system. Eden’s nuclear reactor and hot cell facility will focus on those isotopes that are produced using a nuclear reactor.