DOE Isotope Program Highlights

News highlights from all participating national laboratories, university facilities, and other research institutions which feature work from the U.S. Department of Energy Isotope Program can be found here.

Left: production rate as a function of proton energy of parent radioisotopes selenium-72 (Se-72) (1) & germanium-68 (Ge-68) (2). Right, a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) image of a patient with metastatic colon cancer, obtained using gallium-68 (Ga-68)

Fighting Cancer on Earth and in Space Using High-Energy Protons

Scientists on Earth use high-energy protons to create isotopes to detect and treat cancer. In space, however, these same high-energy protons can pose a risk to spacecraft and the health of the astronauts traveling in them.
Image courtesy of Texas A&M University The medical radioisotope astatine is separated from bismuth then loaded into a resin column. Once dry, the column is packed for shipping so the astatine can be sent for use at a cancer treatment center.

Cancer Countermeasures on a Column

University researchers produce a novel method of shipping the promising medical isotope astatine-211
Image courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Army Research Laboratory. Direct deposition of a radioisotope source onto a converter. This can improve conversion of the radioisotope source’s beta decay emissions to electricity by using two converters instead of one. The result is greater power density for the power source.

New Approach to Radioisotope Power Sources for Improved Efficiency, Long Life

NextGen power sources may satisfy the need for long-term, compact power for use in remote or extreme environments.
Image courtesy of Carlos Jones, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Researcher Sandra Davern looks at non-radioactive metal ions enclosed in biodegradable polymers in her lab at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Her work is paving the way for enclosing isotopes in the same polymers for targeted treatment of cancer cells.

Enclosing Radiation-Loaded Particles to Better Seek and Destroy Cancer

Promising study details how radioactive agents could be sent directly to cancer cells.
Image courtesy of Jon Burns, Texas A&M University At-211 – ketone interaction within the chromatography column.

New Elegant Method for Rapid Recovery of Anti-Cancer Agent At-211

A high-speed, high-yield recovery approach for At-211 means improved availability of this cancer-treating isotope.
Image courtesy of Donald Montoya, Los Alamos National Laboratory Cerium-134 can be targeted to provide an imaging analogue for two different therapy isotopes, actinium-225 and thorium-227. This helps scientists understand these therapy isotopes and develop new treatments. These novel isotopes are being developed and produced by the DOE Isotope Program.

New Imaging Isotope Meets Promising Therapy Isotopes

New production methods for Ce-134 advance technologies for imaging human disease and guiding treatment.
Julie Ezold has been elected to a three-year term on the American Nuclear Society’s Board of Directors.

Ezold elected to the ANS Board of Directors

Julie Ezold, section head at ORNL, has been elected to a three-year term on the American Nuclear Society’s Board of Directors.
Increasing the Arsenal of Radioisotopes in the Fight Against Cancer

Increasing the Arsenal of Radioisotopes in the Fight Against Cancer

A new supply of a critical radioisotope advances personalized medicine.
Uranium to Treat Cancer

Harnessing the Power of Uranium to Treat Disease

New system makes it easier to produce isotopes for radiopharmaceutical therapy.
Berkeley Lab scientists Leticia Arnedo-Sanchez (from left), Katherine Shield, Korey Carter, and Jennifer Wacker had to take precautions against radioactivity as well as coronavirus to conduct experiments with the rare element, einsteinium. (Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

Discoveries at the Edge of the Periodic Table: First Ever Measurements of Einsteinium

With less than 250 nanograms of the element, the team measured the first-ever einsteinium bond distance, a basic property of an element’s interactions with other atoms and molecules.