PPPL researchers have developed a solution to chronic shortages of a radioactive element vital to medical exams. They have created a compact device that hospitals could install on their premises to produce the material called Technitium-99m (Tc-99m), the world's most widely used medical isotope.
Primary Application Area: Medical Devices
Technology Development Status: Prototype
Researchers at Princeton University's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed an on-demand method to create Mo-99 from Mo-100. Mo-99, which decays to Tc-99m, is used in tens of millions of medical diagnostic procedures annually, making it the most commonly used medical radioisotope. The invention could help solve a worldwide shortage of a radioactive element that is crucial in medical scanning devices used to diagnose diseases such as heart disease and breast cancer. The refrigerator-sized device can produce Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the substance used in most medical diagnostic procedures, in a hospital or doctor's office. This could make the substance more available to remote areas as well as third-world countries. And unlike the production of Tc-99m in nuclear reactors, there is no danger of nuclear proliferation associated with the device because the new method does not use uranium.
FIGURES OF MERIT:
Value Proposition: TThis technology addresses the issue of a worldwide shortage of medical isotope Mo-99/Tc-99m.There is currently no technology that can produce Mo-99/Tc-99m on demand and in situ. All current methods involve nuclear fission and the quick and expensive shipping of the isotope, Mo-99, which has a half-life of six hours. This new method employs nuclear fusion and does not require the use of uranium. Therefore, there is no danger of nuclear proliferation associated with the new method. This invention brings a medical diagnostic test to people in remote areas and third world countries who have never had access to the medical isotope, Mo-99.
Organization Type: Academic/Gov Lab
GOVT/EXTERNAL FUNDING SOURCES
Vetted Programs/Awards: Princeton University’s 2016 Innovation Forum-3rd Prize; 2016 NJ Edison Patent Award