Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Ron Walli (wallira@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL sees increase in sales of radioisotope to fight cancer

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 25, 2000 — Sales of radioisotopes to treat cancer increased significantly this year at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), although overall revenue from radioisotopes declined.

Demand for actinium-225, the precursor for bismuth-213, rose 34 percent in fiscal year 2000, from 243 millicuries (mCi) in 1999 to 326 mCi in 2000. Bismuth-213 shows great promise for treating acute myeloid leukemia, lung cancer and large tumors. Revenue for actinium-225 was $151,033 compared to $125,483 in 1999.

Meanwhile, sales of californium-252, used to treat several types of cancer, increased 8 percent, from $906,664 (15,321 micrograms) in 1999 to $1,023,900 (16,653 micrograms) in 2000. Californium-252 is produced in ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor, the western world's sole source for the radioisotope.

Revenue from tungsten-188/rhenium-188, used to treat bone cancer and to keep arteries clear following coronary angioplasty, increased 5.4 percent to $311,120 (51,530 mCi) from $295,241 (44,777 mCi) in 1999.

Overall revenue for radioisotopes for fiscal year 2000 is projected to be about $2 million, down 11 percent from 1999. Revenue from sales of iridium-192 decreased 39 percent - from $672,992 to $408,196 - because of privatization by International Isotopes Idaho and competition from foreign sources, according to Rocky Cline, manager of isotope distribution for ORNL.

Sales of all other radioisotopes declined from $202,799 in 1999 to $65,268 in fiscal year 2000, which ended Sept. 30.

ORNL is a DOE multiprogram facility operated by UT-Battelle.