Security of supply
In 2009, the importance of a new reactor was recognized by the Dutch government. They drew up a Nuclear Roadmap (in Dutch) in which it recognizes that a new dedicated reactor for medical isotopes is indispensable for patients and good healthcare. In 2017 and 2018 the RIVM mapped out the market development of medical isotopes, which again emphasizes the need for security of the supply. In addition, the Hoogambtelijke werkgroep conducted research into the nuclear landscape in the Netherlands in 2017. She emphasizes that a reactor is needed to guarantee the international security of supply of medical isotopes and that PALLAS is the most advanced European initiative.
Knowledge economy contribution
The multiple reports also mentions the contribution of PALLAS to the Dutch knowledge economy. After all, the Netherlands has a unique position and years of expertise in the field of medical isotopes. The arrival of PALLAS will mean a huge contribution to the knowledge economy, will prevent the outflow of ‘own’ experts such as medical specialists and nuclear physicists, and will strongly appeal to outside experts.
Dutch production chain
- Together with its radio-pharmaceutical partners, reactor operator NRG is the largest producer of molybdenum-99 in the world. The Petten-based company develops and optimises the production of molybdenum-99, supplies various therapeutic isotopes, and conducts research into the production of isotopes for new radio-pharmaceuticals, particularly for therapeutic applications.
- TU Delft (Reactor Institute Delft) conducts research into alternative techniques for the production of molybdenum-99, examines generator chemistry and studies the radio-chemistry of other production processes.
- Processor Curium supplies and distributes a wide range of medical isotopes to hospitals all over the world.
- IBD Holland/AAA processes and distributes lutetium-177.
- With its stable isotope department, Urenco has developed production routes for the enrichment of raw materials for the production of medical isotopes. Examples of this include the enrichment of iridium and xenon for the production of iridium-192 andiodine-125. Urenco is also working on a production route for the enrichment of molybdenum.
- Various academic centres are working on their own research and are participating in international studies. Some examples:
– Holmium-166 was developed in the UMC, in collaboration with TU Delft and NRG, among others.
– The Erasmus Medical Centre is internationally renowned as an expert in the field of lutetium-177. The development of lutetium-177 (production process) was initiated by Erasmus MC and NRG.
– The NKI and Radboud University Medical Centre are working together with NRG to develop the clinical application of Pt-195m for the treatment of head & neck cancer and lung cancer.
– Through its cyclotrons and a radio-therapeutic centre, the VU Medical Centre has specialised in the development of medical isotopes.
– The LUMC performs fundamental research into carriers/tracers with fluorescent techniques.
International institutes, companies and medical centres know how to seek out Dutch companies and medical centres, to gain access to their expertise, products and input for clinical research.