In a period of fifty years ‘Petten’ has become the largest supplier of medical isotopes in Europe and the second largest in the world. These isotopes are produced by irradiating targets (such as uranium, lutetium, iridium), followed by post processing and delivery to hospitals. There they are applied in diagnostic (scans) and therapeutic (cancer therapy and pain relief) treatments.
It is expected that the market for medical isotopes will continue to grow due to the strong aging population, the growth in prosperity and higher life expectancy in (mostly) developing countries the next years. Outside the Netherlands, only four other countries possess adequate production facilities and a mature isotope production infrastructure.
It is explicitly the intention to contribute with PALLAS to the continuous availability of medical isotopes for European citizens and to research and development of new isotopes (treatments). Supply security and innovation are key terms.
An example of this innovation is the production of the isotope lutetium-177 (Lu-177) that is made available to various clinics worldwide for research into new treatments. The Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam is a world leader in research into the treatment of neuroendocrine tumours with Lu-177. In addition to Lu-177, there is increasing interest for holmium-166 loaded on microspheres (brachytherapy), for the purpose of treatment of primary liver tumours.