Siberia | Technology & innovation | Finance, business

Tomsk Polytechnic to start isotope production for oncology

17 Nov '15
The Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) in Siberia is launching next year its own production of radioactive phosphorus-32, which is used in malignant tumor diagnostics and treatment of some cancers, the TPU website announced.

This will be Russia’s sole production line for this important element which has been in ever-increasing demand across medical institutions and biological research centers.

For example, phosphorus-32, a radioactive isotope, is widely used in biochemical research. It penetrates nucleic acids which are part of all metabolitic processes in a living organism, and puts itself instead of a stable phosphorus-31. Phosphorus-32 is a beta-radiator, which makes it possible to follow its movement in the human body by using tomography. Its accumulation in an organ signals metabolitic problems there.

Also, phosphorus-32 can be used in radiation therapy when malignant neoplasms have been found in the hematopoietic system and lymphoid tissue. Beta-particles the isotope emits in its decay have relatively low energy, which enables the killing of cancerous cells at a close range without damaging surrounding healthy tissue, explained Igor Shamanin who heads TPU’s technical physics chair.

TPU is putting together its new production line on the premises of the university’s research reactor.

According to Mr. Shamanin, already now potential customers are showing “great interest”:

“Germany’s Bayer is in constant contact with us; they are very interested in our line.”

Both domestic and international markets demonstrate strong demand for the phosphorus-32 and phosphorus-33 isotopes, so “it’s just necessary that Russia finally have its own production of radioactive phosphorus,” the Siberian scientist believes.
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Locations: Tomsk

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