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Type Seminar
Date April 05, 2019 - 10:00
Time 10:00
Location Room 105 | GANIL, Caen | France
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Novel radioisotope production methods for medical applications

Thomas E. Cocolios (Institute for Nuclear and Radiation Physics, KU Leuven, Belgium)

Nuclear and accelerator physics have had a strong impact for the diagnostics and treatment of cancers in our society. Nuclear imaging is a strong component of the diagnostics tools available in hospitals, with isotopes either produced on site with small cyclotrons (e.g. 18F) or from generators that provide a regular supply (e.g. 99Mo – 99mTc). Meanwhile, hadron therapy is a recognised therapy with strong benefits over conventional radiation therapies in some identified cases. This has resulted in the recent increase in hadron therapy facilities in Europe, such as the proton therapy center Particle at the Leuven University Hospital, or the ARCHADE Association in Caen.

In spite of these great achievements, the path to personalised medicine and the treatment of distributed cancers (e.g metastatic cancers, cancers of the endocrine system) remain challenges that require to rethink the approach to cancer treatment, sometimes from first principles.

To that end, research into novel medical radioisotopes is ongoing, where the use of different isotopes of a single elements would allow to easily switch between imaging and therapy — the so-called theranostics approach. However, most of the isotopes that could be of interest for such research are not available on the market (e.g. 149,152,155,161Tb) and the limited supply has prevented the democratisation of this research topic.

Meanwhile, hadron therapy suffers from large range uncertainties and rely solely on treatment planning systems. Attempts are made to measure and quantify the treatment dose post irradiation, however without any direct measurement possible yet. It is now proposed that hadron therapy could be directly performed with radioisotopes used for positron annihilation tomography (PET) and with which a direct and quantitative analysis of the dose distribution could be made. A suitable production scheme remains to be developed.

In this presentation, I shall introduce those topics to bring forward the research carried by the Interdisciplinary Research Group of the KU Leuven Institute for Nuclear and Radiation Physics. We make use of our expertise in the production of radioisotopes with the isotope separation online (ISOL) technique to produce novel radioisotopes for medical research at the CERN MEDICIS facility, to explore what could be a sustainable way to supply these isotopes in the future, e.g. with the ISOL@MYRRHA facility at SCK•CEN, and finally how to supply a sufficiently intense beam of 11C to perform PET-aided hadron therapy.

Acknowledgements: This work is supported in part by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network Fellowship of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme under contract number 642889 MEDICIS-PROMED, by the FWO Vlaanderen, and by a KU Leuven START grant.


Practical information:

10h00 GANIL seminar room (105)
Coffee will be served 15mn before