Taking Australian nuclear medicine to the world

Taking Australian nuclear medicine to the world article image

Scientists at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) are now taking Australian nuclear medical advancements to the world.

Speaking at the 2016 Mo-99 Topical Meeting in St Louis, US, earlier this week ANSTO General Manager Jayne Senior addressed nuclear science experts on the progress of the ANSTO Nuclear Medicine project.

“The ANSTO Nuclear Medicine project will make Australia a world leader in the production and distribution of vitally important nuclear medicines,” Ms Senior said.

“By the end of 2017 the new facility will produce more than 10 million doses a year of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), taking our medicine to help patients in hospitals around the world.”

Mo-99 accounts for about 80 per cent of nuclear medicine procedures, and is the base material used in the diagnosis of cancers, heart disease, muscular and skeletal conditions.

World demand for this nuclear medicine is around 40 million doses per year, but the reactors which produce about 60-70 per cent of it are ageing, and due to shut down in the next few years.

Medical dividend to the world

ANSTO currently produces a predominantly domestic supply at Lucas Heights, Sydney, which will soon be dramatically boosted thanks to the $168.8 million ANSTO Nuclear Medicine project.

“When this project is complete it will deliver a medical dividend to the world and allow many more people to have a reliable access to this safe and effective medicine,” Ms Senior said.

“After testing and commissioning, the facility will enable ANSTO to meet domestic demand and take Australian medicine to the world, supplying up to 25-30 per cent of global demand.

“The fact that we can do this with our Low-Enriched Uranium technology, contributing to Australia’s non-proliferation goals, is the icing on the cake.” 

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