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Bruce Power, ITM and partners install isotope production system

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | January 27, 2022
Molecular Imaging
Bruce Power has installed the first power reactor for Lutetium-177 production at its facility
Bruce Power is one step closer to being the first power reactor capable of producing Lutetium-177.

With its partners, ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE, Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON), and Isogen (a collaboration between Kinectrics and Framatome), the Canadian electricity company installed this month a new isotope production system.

Designed by Isogen, the IPS will provide healthcare practices with supplies of Lu-177, which is used to treat neuroendocrine tumors and can be used in applications for prostate and breast cancer treatments. With it, physicians will be able to target and destroy cancer cells and limit potential damage to healthy tissue.

In addition to Lu-177, the system will also produce other isotopes for medical uses over the long term. “The IPS is a first-of-its-kind solution to produce short-lived medical isotopes in a commercial reactor. This system will be a game changer in the global medical isotope supply chain, providing unprecedented capacity, redundancy and scale for medical isotope production,” John Peevers, director of community, media relations, and economic development at Bruce Power, told HCB News.

Lu-177 is designed as an alternative to traditional chemotherapy. It utilizes a “seek-and-destroy” dose to target cancer cells and reduce damage inflicted to surrounding tissues and organs.

Bruce Power will use the system to irradiate Ytterbium-176, which is the first step to producing no-carrier-added Lu-177. ITM will oversee the processing of the irradiated Ytterbium-176 to produce n.c.a. Lu-177. It will also manage the global supply of n.c.a. Lu-177.

The installation is part of the landmark isotope project, a partnership that began three years ago among 400 professionals who are all working on different stages of the project. With the installation complete, members will focus on planned commissioning and then prepare for commercial production once regulatory submissions are completed.

“As the commissioning process continues there will be additional regulatory hold points to allow Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission staff to confirm operational readiness of the Isotope Production System prior to the start of Lu-177 production. Bruce Power will finalize documentation and CNSC staff will review commissioning test results to verify the system meets its design and safety analyses requirements,” said Peevers.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission approved Bruce Power back in October to produce Lu-177.

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