The cyclotron’s activities are as follows:
- Production of radioisotopes, radiopharmaceuticals for research in nuclear medicine.
The prime purpose of the ARRONAX cyclotron is to provide research in nuclear medicine with the ingredients needed for pre-clinical or clinical studies using innovative radioisotopes: see (1) table below. By their ultimate aim, all these radioisotopes are short-lived (from a few minutes to a few days). Several research teams in France and Europe use these radioisotopes. For instance, the Nantes research teams from CRCINA (INSERM U1232 unit) are specialized in the field of alpha immunotherapy, that consists in attaching to an anti-tumor antibody an alpha radioactive element, very effective at cellular level.
An annex to the internal use pharmacy has been set up in the Arronax GIP to produce radiopharmaceuticals for clinical trials. These radiopharmaceuticals are produced dose by dose on demand. The first medicines were produced on 22 May 2018.
- Industrial production of radioisotopes and/or radiopharmaceuticals.
The cyclotron is also used for the production of commercial radioisotopes, for which there is less demand than for medical radioisotopes. The cyclotron produces strontium-82, the father of rubidium-82, used in cardiac imaging in the USA since 2012. On 31 December 2018, nearly 300,000 patients had benefited from the strontium produced by Arronax. The cyclotron works to produce germanium-68, father of gallium-68, used in nuclear imagery in oncology.
- Research on the radiation of non-living and living matter.
The cyclotron’s beams, in particular its alpha beam, are used for experiments aimed at better understanding the mechanisms of radiation interacting with matter.
- Radiochemistry: we study the effect of radiation on water, still called radiolysis of water. The applications of this fundamental research range from the problem of storing nuclear waste at great depths to a better understanding of the effects of radiation on living matter.
- Radiobiology: studying the impact of radiation on cells and their environment. The information thus gathered is used to optimize radiotherapy treatments.
- Improving detectors: for different medical applications using radiation, it is important to have detectors that measure and monitor the radiation. In a radiation cave, we offer the means to test and validate these detectors.
(1) The range of radioisotopes available to doctors (thallium 201, technetium 99, fluorine 18, etc.) is enriched with these new radioisotopes produced by ARRONAX.
|Radionucléide||Half-life period||Use for diagnosis (imaging examination)||Use in internal radiotherapy|
|Cuivre 64||12,7 h||Oncology|
|Scandium 44||2,4 j|
|Gallium 68||68 mn|
|Rubidium 82||1,2 mn||Cardiology|
|Cuivre 67||2,6 j||Radioimmunology|
|Scandium 47||3,4 j||Radiopeptide-therapy|
|Astate 211||7,2 h||Alpha-immunotherapy|