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Isotopes For Cancer Treatment In India

An advanced project for installation and operation of a modern cyclotron - which can be used to treat cancer - is being executed in India//.

The Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC) and Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology (BRIT) of the department of atomic energy will jointly produce medically useful radioisotopes.

Ion beams from cyclotrons can be used to penetrate the body and kill tumours while minimising damage to healthy tissues.

With the availability of these isotopes, doctors will be able to diagnose cancer, heart diseases and neurological disorders, VECC Director Bikash Sinha said Sunday.

New Merchants International will supply the cyclotron and associated systems. Ion Beam Applications (IBA), Belgium, will manufacture the cyclotron system while Italian firm COMECER will produce the chemical systems. The project will be completed in about two years. He said consultations are also on between VECC, IBA and New Merchants International for development and installation of a modern cyclotron based proton therapy facility for cancer treatment in India.

High intense beam of 30 MeV protons will be used to produce SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) isotopes such as Gallium-67, Indium-111, Iodine-123, Thallium-201, for the first time in the country.

At present, these isotopes are imported from abroad. The cyclotron will also be used to produce a very effective PET (Position Emission Tomography) isotope known as Fluorine-18 here.

The facility is coming up on a 5.2 acre of land given by the West Bengal government for this highly beneficial and state-of-the-art health care project, Sinha said.


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