The recent shutdown of a major radioisotope production facility will potentially cause shortages of a vital medical isotope used worldwide in nuclear medicine procedures. US Radiopharmaceuticals (USR) will produce an alternative isotope to meet the domestic and global need and is exploring new alternatives to traditional diagnostic testing.
(PARK CITY, UT) December 20, 2016—In late October, the global supply of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the most commonly used radioisotope in the world, became threatened when Canada’s Chalk River nuclear research facility shut down. The reactor’s output provided approximately 20% of the worldwide supply of Tc-99m.(1) Its location made it the most reasonable choice for providing this essential radiotracer to nuclear medicine facilities across North America.
USR, a subsidiary of NuView Life Sciences (NVLS), is poised to emerge as an industry leader in the production of alternative diagnostic radioisotopes and the development of new PET imaging options. The company offers different choices for diagnostic testing beyond the use of Tc-99m and is leading the effort to keep healthcare costs down while increasing the benefits to patients.
NVLS Chairman and CEO, Paul Crowe, explained, “In the future, many healthcare systems may no longer rely on Tc-99m as their go-to radiotracer. They’re starting to look for other medical isotopes that could be used instead. NVLS is currently working to meet this need with more affordable, readily accessible radioisotopes that are up to 30% less expensive than other products on the market.”
Tc-99m is currently used in over 80% of single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans, (2) up to 70,000 times every day.(3) Some estimates predict that the cost of obtaining this vital radioisotope to healthcare systems across the country may increase 15-fold due to the expected shortage.(3)
The President of US Radiopharmaceuticals, Joel Timberlake, said, “Many healthcare systems rely on Tc-99m as their go-to nuclear medicine radiotracer, so they’re starting to look for other alternative medical isotopes that could be used. USR is currently working to meet this need with more affordable, readily accessible radioisotopes that are up to 30% less expensive than other products on the market.” Up to 15 million Americans undergo heart imaging studies each year, and these tests have traditionally used Tc-99m to visualize cardiac structures.(4) If healthcare systems fail to utilize alternative radioisotopes such as thallium-201, patients could be forced to undergo more expensive, and possibly riskier diagnostic procedures.
Additionally, NVLS is working to develop other types of diagnostic tests that could be used in place of SPECT scans. Positron emission tomography (PET) scans are being explored for use in cardiological diagnostic testing using isotopes such as Copper-64, which is also manufactured by US Radiopharmaceuticals.
Crowe said, “PET scans offer a better choice in diagnostic testing for a variety of patients, not just those with cancer. It’s our hope that our technology will usher in a new era of diagnosis which will meet the complex medical and financial needs of individual patients and the healthcare system as a whole.”
About US Radiopharmaceuticals
USR located in Denton, Texas is an emerging manufacturer and distributor of licensed radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals to both the domestic and international nuclear medicine and molecular imaging communities. The company’s 48,000 Sq. ft. facility and high-energy, high capacity accelerators offer cGMP-manufacturing of traditional SPECT/PET radiopharmaceuticals, as well as R&D capabilities. Under selected contracts, USR will manufacture and distribute a comprehensive variety of radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals, and provide contract manufacturing and R&D services to strategic partners in the Nuclear Medicine Community. USR will significantly increase the availability of a number of widely used and limited or zero availability nuclear medicine products, benefiting millions of patients in the US and worldwide. USR’s Denton facility will be reopening in 2017 following extensive facility and equipment refurbishments, establishing the company as a reliable supplier of high quality products to the nuclear medicine market. USR President Joel Timberlake has over 30 years of experience managing manufacturing operations in the healthcare products field and has extensive experience managing global operations responsible for the manufacture of medical devices, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and drug products.
About NuView Life Sciences:
Founded in 2005, NuView Life Sciences is a biotechnology company located in Park City, Utah, working to reform the way cancer is diagnosed and treated in our modern healthcare system. NuView is focused on creating precision cancer diagnostics and therapeutics to improve patient outcomes while reducing healthcare costs through the development and clinical application of its exclusive peptide analog technology, NV-VPAC1.
Led by a team of industry experts with decades of combined experience in healthcare and medical imaging technologies, NuView is poised to change how we look for and respond to cancer. To learn more about NuView Life Sciences, please visit http://nuviewinfo.com/site/3/.
- Reactor shutdown threatens world’s medical-isotope supply. Nature. http://www.nature.com/news/reactor-shutdown-threatens-world-s-medical-isotope-supply-1.20577 (September 2016)
- Is the U.S. due for a shortage of SPECT tracers? Part 1. com. http://www.auntminnie.com/index.aspx?sec=ser&sub=def&pag=dis&ItemID=115799(November 2016)
- Radioisotopes: The medical testing crisis. http://www.nature.com/news/radioisotopes-the-medical-testing-crisis-1.14325 December 2013)
- Nuclear threat to heart patients? Experts show impact from shortage of radioactive stress test tracer. (September 2016) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160916093635.htm
- Crisis or Opportunity? Tc-99m Shortage May Open the Door for More Imaging Options. Cardiovascular Business. (October 2016) http://www.cardiovascularbusiness.com/topics/imaging/crisis-or-opportunity-tc-99m-shortage-may-open-door-more-imaging-options