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Radiation Sources for Brachytherapy


Complex Research and Development of Sealed Therapeutic Radiation Sources with Optimal Medical, Technical, and Economic Parameters

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-ISO/Isotopes/Fission Reactors
  • CHE-RAD/Photo and Radiation Chemistry/Chemistry
  • MED-RAD/Radiomedicine/Medicine

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Novozhilov V V

Leading Institute
FEI (IPPE), Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk

Supporting institutes

  • Medical Radiological Scientific Center, Russia, Kaluga reg., Obninsk


  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, CA, Livermore\nPGK Enterprises, USA, VA, McLean\nGeorge Washington University / Institute for Medical Imaging and Image Analysis, USA, DC, Washington\nURO-Radiology Prostate Institute, USA, VA, Vienna

Project summary

The goal of the proposed interdepartmental science intensive project consists of:
- development of a new technology of the seeds production,
- application of iodine-125 and palladium-103 isotopes for the seeds, these isotopes will have the minimal content of radionuclide impurities that influence on the quality of oncologic disease treatment negatively,
- optimization of the composition, geometry, and production technology of the sealed sources,
- reduction of the seeds cost due to the cost reduction of raw isotopes, fabrication procedure, organization of a commercial production of the seeds,
- selection of the optimal therapy procedure of patients with malignant tumors of various localization.
The necessity to implement the work complex described in this project is caused by the fact that the significant growth of oncologic diseases has been registering in the developed countries for the last ten years. The organ-keeping treatment method of the localized cancer forms of prostate, organs of oral cavity, stomatopharynx, rhinopharynx, larynx, and tumors of the chest and abdominal cavity is the interstitial radiation therapy (brachytherapy) allowing to carry out the seed implantation into a tumor which causes the malignant cells death. Tens of the seeds are implanted into a tumor during the treatment, the seeds cost makes up the significant part of the whole surgery cost.
New medical procedures and significant amounts of inexpensive seeds are required for treatment of a large “army” of patients throughout the world who suffer from the above listed oncologic diseases. This problem can only be solved by means of the therapy cost reduction at the expense of supply of a sufficient amount of the seeds to hospitals and introduction of new therapeutic methods. Nowadays in Russia there is no production of the seeds and no application of them in hospitals. Several companies produce the seeds all over the world. However, the production capacities of those companies are significantly lower than the demand for these seeds. The reasons include also the insufficient quantity of available raw isotopes. The comprehensive research which will be carried out on the base of two Russian scientific centers located in Obninsk - SSC RF IPPE and MRRC RAMS – will enable to make a subsequent step in the brachytherapy development at the expense of a commercial production of the inexpensive seeds and new medical therapeutic procedures as well.
As a result of this project implementation it is supposed to:
- create a real scientific and technical base for transfer from the production of pilot batches of the seeds to the commercial production of them for Russian domestic application and for export purposes. It will solve the problem nationally and internationally as well;
- ship high pure iodine-125 and palladium-103 isotopes to foreign companies, the shortage of these isotopes exists in the international market;
- advance the existing therapeutic methods of oncologic disease treatment and develop new ones, found an interdepartmental all-Russian center for further introduction of the therapeutic methods in the practical medicine.
The comprehensive research which will be carried out by the SSC RF IPPE and MRRC RAMS includes:
· calculation and experimental research of the isotope production process for the seed active components: they are iodine-125 and palladium-103,
· Study of the palladium-103 isotope production technology in the fast neutron reactor,
· study of physical and chemical characteristics of the seeds based on iodine-125 and palladium-103 isotopes,
· development of the seed radioactive component fabrication technology on the base of iodine-125 and palladium-103 radioisotopes,
· radiometric research of the sources for different medical purposes,
· selection of the seed fabrication technology providing their optimal economic properties,
· selection of methods and equipment for the seeds automatic assembling (laser welding),
· carrying out estimations of the dose fields generated by the implanted seeds inside the tumor, application of approximate and precise three-dimensional models for the energy transfer calculation,
· fabrication of the test seeds with various isotopes for implantation into tumors,
· development of therapeutic method for the treatment of malignant tumors of different localization by the proposed sealed radiation seeds,
· carrying out experimental radiobiological tests, pre-clinical and clinical trials of the seeds,
issuing recommendations on the methods,
· selection of the seed optimal type according to the combined quality criterion where physical and chemical, biological and economic properties of the seed are to be included.

All this makes the project to be exclusively actual nowadays.


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