In-house cyclotron production of high-purity Tc-99m and Tc-99m radiopharmaceuticals

Petra Martini, Alessandra Boschi, Gianfranco Cicoria, Federico Zagni, Andrea Corazza, Licia Uccelli, Micòl Pasquali, Gaia Pupillo, Mario Marengo, Massimo Loriggiola, Hanna Skliarova, Liliana Mou, Sara Cisternino, Sara Carturan, Laura Melendez-Alafort, Nikolay M Uzunov, Michele Bello, Carlos Rossi Alvarez, Juan Esposito, Adriano Duatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last years, the technology for producing the important medical radionuclide technetium-99m by cyclotrons has become sufficiently mature to justify its introduction as an alternative source of the starting precursor [99mTc][TcO4]- ubiquitously employed for the production of 99mTc-radiopharmaceuticals in hospitals. These technologies make use almost exclusively of the nuclear reaction 100Mo(p,2n)99mTc that allows direct production of Tc-99m. In this study, it is conjectured that this alternative production route will not replace the current supply chain based on the distribution of 99Mo/99mTc generators, but could become a convenient emergency source of Tc-99m only for in-house hospitals equipped with a conventional, low-energy, medical cyclotron. On this ground, an outline of the essential steps that should be implemented for setting up a hospital radiopharmacy aimed at the occasional production of Tc-99m by a small cyclotron is discussed. These include (1) target production, (2) irradiation conditions, (3) separation/purification procedures, (4) terminal sterilization, (5) quality control, and (6) Mo-100 recovery. To address these issues, a comprehensive technology for cyclotron-production of Tc-99m, developed at the Legnaro National Laboratories of the Italian National Institute of Nuclear Physics (LNL-INFN), will be used as a reference example.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-331
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Radiation and Isotopes
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018


  • Cyclotrons
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Medicine Department, Hospital
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital
  • Quality Control
  • Radiopharmaceuticals/isolation & purification
  • Technetium/isolation & purification
  • Technology, Radiologic/instrumentation


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