On the industrial production of high purity 90Y, 99mTc and 188Re radionuclides for medical purposes using centrifugal semicountercurrent extraction generators | A.N. Frumkin Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences

On the industrial production of high purity 90Y, 99mTc and 188Re radionuclides for medical purposes using centrifugal semicountercurrent extraction generators

Frumkin Institute of Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IPCE RAS) developed the extraction technologies, created the generators based thereupon, and possesses the relevant “know’how” to produce the following radionuclides:

90Y, 99mTc, and 188Re.

Centrifugal Extraction Generators-General View

99mTc and 188Re generators are made of stainless steel.

The technologies we developed for the production of 90Y, 99mTc, and 188Re are highly competitive to the worldwide known companies working in the area. Our works on this subject are protected by 14 patents of Russia.

We propose the cooperation in various aspects of the problems described above. We could also look at the possibility to produce other radiopharmaceuticals, e.g. cyclotron isotopes, using our centrifugal generators. In case you have an interest, we are willing to discuss all the associated technical and financial issues.

Yttrium – 90

Yttrium – 90 The technique for producing 90Y from 90Sr using a centrifugal extraction generator is of the major practical interest. The developed generator consists of the two connected in series 2-stage centrifugal extractors. The first unit is used for the separation of 90Y from 90Sr at the first stage and for washing the 90Y extract at the second stage. The D2EHPA extractant feed rate is up to 1000 cm3/hr. The second unit is used for the deep purification of 90Y from 90Sr and 90Y stripping. After the 90Y re-extract is evaporated the final product is obtained in the chloride form (0.1M HCl).

To date we have accumulated a 5-year experience of the centrifugal semicountercurrent extraction generator application for radiopharmaceutical purposes at the Institute of Biophysics, Moscow (Dr. Kodina G.E. is the Head of Laboratory). An extraction facility for the production of medicinal 90Y isotope according to the technological scheme developed by us has successfully commenced its operation in 2000 at the Institute for Nuclear Physics of Czech Republic.

The technique for 90Y separation described above offers the following advantages as compared to the other well-known methods (see J. Radiation Appl., vol.41, #9, pp.861-865, 1990):

  • the equipment (generator) capacity ranges very wide from trace quantities to several dozens of Curie per 1 cycle;
  • the final product yield amounts not less than 95%;
  • the 90Sr impurity does not exceed 10‑5‑ 10-6% at the date of calibration;
  • the separation process can be accomplished within a 30-60 min period (time for evaporation not included) whereas the other known methods could be done within 20-24 hrs;
  • the extract volume is 50 cm3.

The generator is made of niobium metal.

Technecium – 99m

As well, we have developed a technique for the industrial production of 99mTc for medical purposes based on a centrifugal extractor with MEK (methylethylketone) for an extractant. A molybdenum trioxide target enriched by 98Mo irradiated in a nuclear reactor is used for the recovery of 99mTc. The summary activity of  radionuklide mixture 99Mo – 99mTc can compose 30 Curie and more. A technological process of the industrial production of 99mTc based on a centrifugal extraction generator has been started in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1993 and 25 clinics of the city are provided with 99mTc ever since. The industrial production of technecium – 99m began also in 2005 at the plant “Medradiopreparat” in Moscow on our technology and the clinics of Moscow are ensured them.

The basic parameters of a 99mTc generator are listed below:

  • the summary activity of initial [radionuklidnoy] mixture 99[Mo] – 99mTc it can compose order 30 Curie;
  • the period of time needed for the 99mTc extraction separation is about 6-8 min;
  • the final product yield amounts not less than 95%;
  • radiochemical purity exceeds 99%;
  • the extract volume is 50 cm3;
  • the 99Mo content in the final product does not exceed 10-5%.
  • concentration MEK in the solution of 99mTc is not more than 0,005[mg]/[ml].
  • pH of the 99mTc aqueous solution is within the range of 6.0-7.0
  • volumetric activity can be obtained it is 5th 10 [GBk]/[ml].
  • the total time of receipt of the final product is not more than 1,5 hours.

The quality of 99mTc solution obtained according to our technique is as good as the similar solution obtained according to the sorption technique.

Renium – 188

One of the promising isotopes for therapy of a number of diseases in nuclear medicine is 188Re. A facility for producing the isotope has commenced its operation in Khlopin’s Radium Institute. The selected optimum operation conditions resulted in the following:

  • 188Re yield exceeds 90%;
  • radiochemical purity exceeds 99%;
  • pH of the 188Re aqueous solution is within the range of 6.5-7.0;
  • the extract volume is 50 cm3;
  • the period of time needed for the 188Re extraction separation is about 6-8 min;
  • activity of 188W did not exceed 1.10-6 of 188Re; the solvent was MEK.
  • the total time of receipt of the final product is not more than 2 hours.

Basically the above mentioned isotope is obtained in sorption generators; those need 188W produced in the high-flux reactors with the neutron flux over 1.1015 n.cm-2s-1, and, ultimately, that yields the high cost of the final 188Re. For the production of 188Re on an extraction centrifugal generator the natural tungsten could be used for the target material followed by the irradiation in a medium-flux reactor. That gives the cost of 188Re compared to that of 99mTc. The developed technology and equipment enable the feed 188W solution up to 5 Ci and resulting 188Re solutions of high specific activity and very low content of inorganic contaminants. The latter is very important when introducing 188Re into antibodies and peptides.

Dimensions of a 2-stage extraction unit are the following:

  • height – 400 mm;
  • diameter – 200 mm;
  • weight – about 15 kg.



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