Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Worldwide Isotope Shortage Continues To Pose Significant Challenges

Date:
September 9, 2009
Source:
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Summary:
The Society of Nuclear Medicine recently conducted a survey of nuclear pharmacies -- pharmacies that supply the critical radioisotope Technetium-99m, which is used in more than 16 million nuclear medicine tests each year in the United States -- to assess, anecdotally, the impact of the worldwide medical isotope shortage.

The Society of Nuclear Medicine recently conducted a survey of nuclear pharmacies—pharmacies that supply the critical radioisotope Technetium-99m, which is used in more than 16 million nuclear medicine tests each year in the United States—to assess, anecdotally, the impact of the worldwide medical isotope shortage. According to the survey, 60 percent of radiopharmacies have been impacted by the most recent shortage. Technetium-99m is a product of Molybdenum-99, which has been in short supply recently.

Related Articles


Nuclear physicians and pharmacists are making changes to cope with the shortage, while striving to provide patients with the highest levels of care possible. For example, 75 percent of physicians are rescheduling patient tests by at least one day. In more than one out of three of these cases, tests have been delayed for longer than one month.

"This situation is untenable," said Robert W. Atcher, Ph.D., M.B.A, chair of SNM's Domestic Isotope Availability Task Force. "Nuclear scans and procedures that use Tc-99m are used to detect and diagnose many common cancers and cardiac conditions."

"In some cases, waiting even a day can severely impact care, especially if the condition is progressing rapidly," said Michael M. Graham, M.D., Ph.D., president of SNM. "Getting information early on in the disease progression is critical, and is one of the real benefits of molecular imaging."

In addition to delays, more than 80 percent of nuclear physicians and specialists are decreasing the dosage, which can lead to "longer exposure and less effective imaging scans," added Atcher.

Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) is a medical isotope derived from Mo-99 which is produced in reactors. Only six reactors in the world produce Mo-99 that is approved for use in the US. These reactors undergo routine maintenance. Recently, however, they have been experiencing chronic mechanical issues due to the age of the reactors and extended operation beyond their expected lifetime. When one reactor goes unexpectedly offline, this creates a limited supply of Mo-99, which is critically needed for nuclear medicine procedures. The most recent extended shortage began in May 2009, when the NRU reactor in Chalk River, Canada—the world's largest reactor that produces Mo-99—went off-line. The situation has been exacerbated by the recent announcement that the NRU reactor will remain off-line at least through 2010.

While the shortage began three months ago, radiopharmacists are increasingly feeling pressure to find alternative agents to offset the Mo-99 shortage. A recent outage of a second reactor for planned maintenance made the shortage worse.

"Radiopharmacists are doing the best they can with the limited resources at their disposal," said Jeffrey P. Norenberg, Pharm.D., Executive Director of the National Association of Nuclear Pharmacies and a member of SNM's Domestic Isotope Availability Task Force. "But clearly, patients deserve better because better agents like Tc-99m exist. Governments should work together to prevent such shortages from ever happening again."

There are no reactors in the United States that produce Mo-99, making the isotope shortage especially acute. Nuclear medicine experts are trying to keep up with demand, while using less effective products. "It's a juggling act," Atcher said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society of Nuclear Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society of Nuclear Medicine. "Worldwide Isotope Shortage Continues To Pose Significant Challenges." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090908193528.htm>.
Society of Nuclear Medicine. (2009, September 9). Worldwide Isotope Shortage Continues To Pose Significant Challenges. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090908193528.htm
Society of Nuclear Medicine. "Worldwide Isotope Shortage Continues To Pose Significant Challenges." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090908193528.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins