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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine (beam therapy used to treat cancer) is one of ROSATOM activity areas, which has not been widely used in Russia so far. The work is underway to create a first federal nuclear medicine center in Dimitrovgrad and then in Obninsk and Tomsk. ROSATOM, in cooperation with the Federal Medical and Biological Agency of Russia and leading foreign producers, has started restoring the entire nuclear medicine complex in Russia from isotope production through equipment manufacture. In 2009, investments in this area amounted to RUB118m and over RUB700m in 2010.

At NIIAR, a project is actively unfolding to set up molybdenum-99 production (which generates short-lived technetium-99m accounting for 30 million cources per year, or 80% of the total amount of radionuclide-based diagnostics). Two research institutes are working on molybdenum production. It is planned to bring up the output to 2,500 Ci per week by 2012. This will allow to seize up to 20% of the world market. In frames of the project a contract was signed with the leading producer of radiochemical equipment – German ITD. It is supplying equipment for phase one of the project.

NIIAR also develops production of other medical isotopes in demand: iodine-131, iodine-125, tungsten-188, strontium-89, tungsten-188 (generator of rhenium-188), lutecium-177.

Another ROSATOM’s nuclear medicine-related area is imaging and accelerator therapy machines. In particular, NIIEFA has designed a gamma-tomograph Efatom, which can be used for diagnostics of a broad range of deceases. In terms of parameters, the machine chamber is at the level of foreign analogues. It is planned to launch its series production shortly.

In nuclear medicine Russia has to meet its domestic needs and enter the world market. Today, there are five companies, which control 80% of the world imaging machinery market. Thereat, acquisitions are active to consolidate the entire production chain within one company. To gather the lacking elements, ROSATOM plans to exchange products with foreign partners by setting up joint ventures and even buy foreign companies.

Development of a transportation and power generation module based on a nuclear power and propulsion installation of the megawatt-class is one of activities pursued by ROSATOM jointly with the Commission for Modernization and Technological Development under the President of Russia. A spacecraft fitted with such installation is expected to have 30 times larger energy security level and 10 times higher economic efficiency as to fuel consumption. The technical solutions will allow building spacecrafts capable of performing the entire range of space operations of the XXI century (delivery of cargos to the orbit, clean-up of orbital space from litter, protection of the Earth from asteroids and comets, building of systems to supply power from space to the Earth, implementation of the Moon and solar system planets exploration programs).

One of the areas of Rosatom activities is nuclear medicine (radiation therapy used in cancer treatments) that has not found broad application in Russia yet. Work is in progress to arrange a first federal nuclear medicine center in Dimitrovgrad. Later such centers will be set up in Obninsk and Tomsk. Together with the Federal Medical and Biological Agency and world’s leading producers Rosatom has started building up the whole medical system — from isotope production to treatment facilities. RUR 118 mln. were spent for this purpose in 2009, and in 2010 the spending will exceed RUR 700 mln.

A project is going at a brisk pace at NIIAR site to arrange production of molybdenum -99 which generates short-lived technetium-99m that serves to perform up to 30 mln. procedures per year - 80% of all diagnostic tests employing radionuclides. Two NIIAR research reactors are involved in molybdenum production whose scale is expected to reach 2.5K Ci per week by 2015, which will allow Russia to take up to 20% of the relevant global market. A contract was signed with the leading producer of dedicated radiochemical equipment – German company ITD which will supply equipment for the first phase of the project.

NIIAR capabilities also serve to deploy production of other isotopes in great demand in medicine: iodine-131, iodine-125, tungsten-188, strontium-89, tungsten-188 (rhenium-188 generator), lutecium-177.

Another line of ROSATOM activities in the field of nuclear medicine is manufacture of CT scanners and therapeutic accelerators. Thus, Electrophysical Instruments Institute (NIIEFA) developed a SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) system Efatom that can be used to perform diagnostics of a broad range of diseases. The clinical characteristics of the gamma camera of this facility are as good as those of similar foreign devices. The facility is to be put in serial production in the near future.

By developing nuclear medicine, Russia should seek not only to meet its needs but should also endeavor to enter the appropriate global market.  Today, there are five big companies which control 80% of the global market of CT scanners. There is a strong merging trend in this industry, to center the whole production chain in one company. To acquire the missing links, Rosatom envisages product exchange with foreign partners, intending to establish joint ventures and even buy foreign companies.

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