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Worldwide isotope shortage continues to pose significant challenges
Date:9/8/2009

en 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, Canadathe world's largest reactor that produces Mo-99went 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.


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Contact: Amy Shaw
ashaw@snm.org
703-652-6773
Society of Nuclear Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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