On-line radionuclide production in a loop

Improvements in tumor-specific targeting vectors are realizing significant enhancements in radiopharmaceutical efficacy using a number of different radionuclides with characteristics matching patient-specific requirements. Depending on the nature of the molecular targeting agent, a high specific activity of the radiolabel is critical to exploit the highly tumor-specific but low-abundance targets. One of the main challenges in radiopharmaceutical development is presented by the highly variable specific activities of the used radionuclides.


This project focusses on developing a Loop-based irradiation system, where the target nuclei are continuously flowing through the reactor core, with an on-line extraction system of the produced radionuclides. This system will allow for rapid extraction of produced radionuclides. Separation of the produced radioisotopes can be performed using e.g. ion exchange columns, or liquid-liquid extraction. Furthermore, the system could enable the recycling of the (sometimes costly isotopically enriched) target nuclides. Use of the proposed loop system in research reactors worldwide will increase the availability and specific activity of these isotopes and stimulate further research. 


This project will form the basis of the loop system. There are many aspects that still warrant investigation and optimization. You will work on determining which isotopes are promising candidates for this system, and in which molecular form they can be used, and which concentration can be used in the loop. The effect of different parameters like temperature and radiation damage on the molecules will be investigated.