To succeed in mass-producing this compound, researchers at chosTwo cyclotrons are used. These are particle accelerators used, among other things, to produce isotopes (atoms with the same number of protons, but a different number of neutrons). This approach was adopted in 2020, which made it possible to overcome the shortage of gallium-68 generators.
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By locally manufacturing this substance, researchers Brigitte Guerin and Dr. Eric Turcotte made it possible to diagnose and treat neuroendocrine cancers within four times the time. In Sherbrooke, for example, the waiting list for diagnostic tests and treatments has been reduced from four months to just one month.
By using cyclotrons, we can mass produce gallium-68 and thus image many patients in a single production. We are the only ones in the world who produce it in this way, that is, with solid targets and in large quantities.Explains the director of the medical imaging hub and researcher in CRCHUS , Brigitte Guerin.
Thanks to this hack, the chosIt is now responsible for the entire gallium-68 supply chain.
This unique approach has allowed us to distribute our blueprints to other institutions in Quebec and Montreal.
In less than a year we developed the entire process. Then it took an additional six months to obtain permits from Health Canada and bring him to the clinic. […] We are still very proud, because we know that it has dramatically changed the care of these patients, both from a clinical point of view and from a quality of life point of view.researcher says.
A needle in a haystack
Because neuroendocrine tumors are so small, they are very difficult to see. This is why gallium-68, along with the tracer molecule DOTATATE, is useful in locating these tumors, no matter where they are located. According to CIUSSS de l’Estrie-CHUS, the imaging method used by the research center is the most sensitive worldwide.
The production of gallium-68 has changed the lives of many users by making cancer almost invisible into a visible disease that can be treated more quickly.
CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS also notes that two patents are associated with the development of this production method.
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