US company to open medical radioisotopes research facility in Mol

The American company SpectronRx has announced that it will open its first radio labeling facility in Europe in Mol (Antwerp Province) next year. Once its new facility is open the company will study medical radioisotopes. Research in this field is producing promising results in the fight against cancer.

SpectronRx chose Mol, where the Belgian nuclear research centre SCK CEN is located, as the site for its new facility. There it will look into the potential of actinium-225, a therapeutic radioisotope, as a means of eradicating cancerous cells.

Initial research has shown that the isotope eliminates cancer cells rather than just inhibiting tumour growth. The chance of the cancer returning also appears to decrease after treatment using actinium-225.

Nuclear medicine

Nuclear medicine uses slightly radioactive substances to visualise tissue and organs. In addition to this, radioactive substances can be used for the treatment of cancer. There are currently several studies on the use of actinium-225 to treat several types of cancer: prostate, lung, colon, breast, pancreas, blood and kidney cancer.

Radiopharmaceuticals are made up of two main components: molecules for targeting cancer cells and a radioactive substance. When both are brought together, they can selectively target and irradiate cancer cells without affecting healthy tissues.

Known the world over

SCK CEN in Mol is known worldwide as one of the most important producers of medical radioisotopes. This made it the perfect location for the new lab.

The company and SCK CEN have signed a so-called “Memorandum of Understanding”.  The scale of the investment in the new lab has not been know.

SpectronRx will be fund the purchase of the very expensive equipment needed for the lab while SCK CEN will provide the scientists and technicians to staff it. As the expertise required is already present in Mol, no new jobs will be created in the short term. 

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