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SNMMI warns providers to prep for expected shortage of Mo-99

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | November 05, 2018
Molecular Imaging

“We remain eternally grateful to our customers in the United States, Europe, Japan, Middle East and South Africa who showed their unwavering support and wished us well,” Phumzile Tshelane, the CEO of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation Group (Necsa), of which NTP Radioisotopes is a subsidiary, said back in February during its temporary recovery, according to a report by ESI Africa. “To all our stakeholders globally who were affected, we thank you for your understanding and patience. Your empathy throughout this period is highly appreciated.”

In response, the Council on Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals has formally requested that the National Nuclear Regulator South Africa (NNR) resume production to support ongoing medical needs of patients in the U.S. and abroad.

"While the remaining medical isotope production supply chain has worked to minimize the impact of the decreased NTP production of Mo-99 and I-131, without the significant production capacity provided by NTP, the risk of medical isotope shortages has increased," wrote Michael J. Guastella, executive director of CORAR, in a letter to the South Africa department of energy. CORAR formally requests that NNR balances the critical nuclear safety requirements of the NTP facility with the needs of the medical community and expedite the remaining operational tests and regulatory reviews necessary to return NTP to full medical isotope production as quickly as safe production of these isotopes can occur."

Mo-99 has a relatively short-half life of approximately 66 hours, requiring production to be continuous to meet the needs of the medical community. Any interruptions pose the risk of patients missing necessary diagnostic exams.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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