Discover the role of Hidex instrumentation in the discovery, development, and understanding of radiopharmaceuticals, pivotal in non-invasive diagnostics and targeted cancer therapies.

Oxygen-15 labelled water

Oxygen-15 labelled water ( [O-15]-H2O) is used as radioactive tracer for measuring and quantifying blood flow using PET (Positron Emission Tomography). Due to its free diffusibility, 15O-water is considered the non-invasive gold standard for quantitative myocardial blood flow (MBF) studies. However, due to Oxygen-15's short half-life of 122 seconds, it has been challenging to provide a radiation safe, controlled, and high-throughput production process. Hidex Radiowater System with the Radiowater Cartridge is an automated production system for Oxygen-15 labelled water.

Hidex Radiowater Generator PET/CT

Radiopharmaceutical Development

Radiotherapy has been utilized to treat cancer since the early 20th century. The method of radiating tumors from outside the body is still in use for a significant number of cancer patients today. The challenge with external radiotherapy is collateral tissue damage, causing side effects like loss of hair, diarrhea, and other health problems. 

The natural affinity of certain molecules, for example, Iodine and Radium (substituting Calcium), has been utilized for decades to transport radioactive isotopes close to the target cancer cells. Antibody–drug conjugates that bring toxic drugs close to the cancer cells are also available today, but the effect is limited by the toxins not staying inside the cells long enough to cause the desired DNA damage.

Recently, new drugs, referred to as radiopharmaceuticals, are being developed to bring radioactive isotopes directly to individual cancer cells with improved specificity, thus reducing the risks of unwanted side-effects. In principle Radiopharmaceuticals is a radioactive molecule linked to a targeting molecule binding to a specific cancer cell target protein. One benefit is that the radioactive decay typically also damages DNA of nearby cancer cells, thus increasing the number of cancer cells being killed. In 2018, FDA approved the use of  Lutetium-177 (Lu-177) dotatate for improved treatment of neuroendocrine tumors and prostate cancer. Additional radiopharmaceuticals are now being designed and tested for several other cancer forms.

The choice of radionuclide and pharmaceutical compound depends on the medical purpose and the specific characteristics of the disease being diagnosed or treated. Other radioisotopes typically used in medical applications are:

  • Ac-225 (Actinium-225) is used in radio pharmacy, especially in Targeted Alpha Therapy (TAT). It has a short range and is generally used for targeted treatment of cancer.

  • Th-227 (Thorium-227) is an alpha emitter and is also used in Targeted Alpha Therapy. It is in addition to Lu-177 used to treat prostate cancer.

  • In-111 (Indium-111) is a gamma emitter and is used in nuclear medicine Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) gamma cameras. It is used for diagnostic imaging purposes, such as localizing infections or studying inflammation in the body. 

Nuclear imaging Positron Emission Tomography (PET) targeting molecules are being modified to carry Alpha emitting isotopes which then can kill the cancer cells in addition to just visualizing them, even if the cancer has spread throughout the body.

Hidex instrumentation is crucial in the development and understanding of these radiopharmaceutical compounds. Our counters are used in characterisation of different radioisotopes with applications such as isotope identification, radioisotopic purity, metrology and quality control. Concerning research related detection of mentioned radioisotopes, e.g, Ac-225, Th-227 are also Beta radiation emitters, and thus readily measured with liquid scintillation counters, even in microplate format.

NOTE: The Information in the section above is partially based on Radiopharmaceuticals: Radiation Therapy Enters the Molecular Age was originally published by the National Cancer Institute.

Hidex Automatic Gamma CounterHidex Sense Beta Plus

In the radiopharmaceutical industry, Hidex instruments contribute to isotope identification, system studies, and for precise diagnostics and therapies.

Related products