Cyclotron production and separation of scandium radionuclides from natural titanium metal and titanium dioxide targets

Academic Article


  • Theranostic strategies involve select radionuclides that allow diagnostic imaging and tailored radionuclide therapy in the same patient. An example of a Food and Drug Administration-approved theranostic pair is the 68Ga- and 177Lu-labeled DOTATATE peptides, which are used to image neuroendocrine tumors, predict treatment response, and treat disease. However, when using radionuclides of 2 different elements, differences in the pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile of the agent can occur. Theranostic agents that incorporate the matched-pair radionuclides of scandium-43Sc/47Sc or 44Sc/47Sc-would guarantee identical chemistries and pharmacologic profiles. The aim of this study was to investigate production of 43,44,47Sc via proton-induced nuclear reactions on titanium nuclei using a 24-MeV cyclotron. Methods: Aluminum, niobium, and tantalum target holders were used with titanium foils and pressed TiO2 to produce scandium radionuclides with proton energies of up to 24 MeV. Irradiated targets were digested using NH4HF2 and HCl in a closed perfluoroalkoxy alkane vessel in 90 min. Scandium radionuclides were purified via ion-exchange chromatography using branched N,N,N′,N′-tetra-2-ethylhexyldiglycolamide. The titanium target material was recovered via alkali precipitation with ammonia solution. Results: Titanium foil and TiO2 were digested with an average efficiency of 98% ± 3% and 95% ± 1%, respectively. The typical digestion time was 45 min for titanium foil and 75 min for TiO2. The average scandium recovery was 94% ± 3%, and the average titanium recoveries from digested titanium foil and TiO2 after precipitation as TiO2 were 108% ± 8% and 104% ± 5% of initial mass, respectively. Conclusion: This work demonstrated a robust method for the cyclotron production of scandium radionuclides that could be used with natural or enriched TiO2 target material.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 8539881
  • Author List

  • Loveless CS; Blanco JR; Diehl GL; Elbahrawi RT; Carzaniga TS; Braccini S; Lapi SE
  • Start Page

  • 131
  • End Page

  • 136
  • Volume

  • 62
  • Issue

  • 1