What are Radiopharmaceuticals?
Theragnostic drugs known as radiopharmaceuticals are component drugs that consist of a radioactive medical isotope bound to an organic molecule. They have shown ground breaking results in patients with tumors that can’t easily be treated by radiotherapy or surgery. However, it has been a challenge to make radiopharmaceuticals widely available to the Oncology community to properly diagnose and treat their patients.
A New Production Method to Meet Demand
The large quantities of medical isotopes needed in nuclear medicine have typically been produced centrally via a nuclear reactor or supplied locally through the use of a generator that can be used as needed by a radiopharmacy or hospital. Smaller quantities of these isotopes have been produced on compact particle accelerators called cyclotrons, which historically have not been viewed as an efficient way to produce products like Gallium-68 and Zirconium-89 in both quantity and quality.
Preventing Another Isotope Supply Chain Break Down
Unfortunately, the supply chain for these isotopes has seen significant interruptions and shortages while demand has drastically increased. This has been highlighted specifically for newer agents such as Gallium-68, which is a key isotope for theragnostics.
The cost of these isotopes has also risen steadily over the years. The growing list of preclinical, clinical and approved agents utilizing these isotopes is growing rapidly and current methods of supplying the active radioisotope ingredients are not viable.