The Crocker Nuclear Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, has received a $340,000 grant from the Department of Energy to manufacture a rare isotope, astatine-211, for medical use. The award is part of a federal program to produce critical isotopes for U.S. science, medicine and industry needs. The magnets at the heart of UC Davis’ 53-year old cyclotron were used to discover astatine almost 80 years ago.
Astatine is the rarest element on Earth and astatine-211 shows promise as a tumor-killing treatment for some cancers. But the isotope is not available in amounts large enough for clinical testing. The new project aims to test the feasibility of making astatine-211 at the Crocker Lab.
“We are excited to again make medically useful isotopes at the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory,” said lab director Eric Prebys, professor of physics in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science.
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