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Belgium’s National Institute for Radioelements (IRE) and nuclear research centre SCK-CEN have signed an agreement to join efforts on the production of lutetium-177 (Lu-177), a medical radioisotope mainly used to treat prostate cancer.

In a joint statement the two organisations said the use of Lu-177 is one of the most promising approaches to treating prostate cancer.

Currently, the medical radioisotope is used in hospitals to treat neuroendocrine cancers, the statement said.

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, causing around 90,000 deaths per year in Europe, with 8,500 cancer cases diagnosed in Belgium annually.

IRE and SCK-CEN are specialised in the research, development and production of medical radioisotopes.

The organisations are expecting the global demand of Lu-177 to triple in the coming years, because of the growing use of the isotope in clinical trials.

This is the second partnership agreement between IRE and SCK-CEN.

In 2018, the two signed agreed to work on the management of irradiated residues resulting from the production of medical radioisotopes as part of the RECUMO project (Recovery of valuable Uranium residues of 99Mo-based radio-pharma in Belgium).

Date: Friday, 14 February 2020
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