IFMIF-DONES impact on health could be revolutionary

Radioisotopes are indispensable for sentinel lymph node biopsies or the treatment of prostate cancer. However, producing these chemicals is very expensive, and even the market only sometimes meets the demand. The health sector is, therefore, aware of the need to secure this essential supply for oncological diagnostics.

“IFMIF-DONES can be a great factory of radioisotopes,” said the coordinator of the Technical Office, José Aguilar, during Conecta by AcexHealth-Foro de Transferencia Biomédica, which was held today at the PTS Granada Foundation. “Without deviating from our main objective, which is to contribute to the development of fusion energy, we can allocate resources to the production of radioisotopes”, Aguilar added.

According to José Expósito, Head of the Radiation Oncology Department at the Virgen de las Nieves University Hospital, currently, three or four out of every ten cancer patients lack a therapeutic approach to change the course of their disease. “High-precision and personalised medicine requires working with neutrons”, he said.

Ignacio Porras, a professor at the University of Granada, corroborated this need. According to his data, 86% of the procedures used in Nuclear Medicine require radioisotopes, but their supply is only sometimes guaranteed. New therapies, such as BCNT, have excellent results and are essential, so not having them available will be a significant problem in the future.

With the start-up of IFMIF-DONES, 70% of the radioisotopes Spain needs could be produced in a week, according to Javier Gallo, Project Director of Empresarios Agrupados. This company collaborates with the particle accelerator in Escúzar (Granada).

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