Oak Ridge National Laboratory


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Media Contact: Mike Bradley ()
Communications and External Relations


Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Mirzadeh Wins Seaborg Medal Award

ORNL's Saed Mirzadeh is the recipient of the American Nuclear Society’s 2007 Seaborg Medal Award.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 1, 2007 — Saed Mirzadeh, whose work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has led to development of new treatments for cancer and other diseases, is the recipient of the American Nuclear Society's 2007 Seaborg Medal Award.

The award is named for Glenn T. Seaborg, the Nobel-prize winning nuclear chemist who co-discovered plutonium and many transuranium isotopes and chaired the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission from 1961 to 1971. It was established in 1983 to recognize the most important research contributions to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Mirzadeh is internationally known for his contributions to the development of radioisotopes - unstable elements that emit radiation as they decay to a stable form. Radioisotopes are routinely used for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases. In the United States, more than 10 million procedures using radioisotopes are performed on patients each year.

Mirzadeh recently developed the chemical processes to provide actinium-225 and its decay daughter bismuth-213 for treatment of a type of leukemia. Actinium-225 is a by-product of uranium-233, which currently is not being used for energy or weapon programs but is of great interest for medical applications.

This work directly resulted in advanced clinical trials now underway to treat leukemia at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Mirzadeh's research also focuses on the use of ORNL's High Flux Isotope Reactor—one of the world's most powerful research nuclear reactors—to produce useful medical and industrial radioisotopes.

For example, rhenium-188 developed at ORNL is used in dozens of laboratory and clinical investigations worldwide with applications including cancer radioimmunotherapy, liver cancer therapy, and treatments for coronary artery disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and bone pain associated with cancer.

"Through the Nuclear Medicine Program, Dr. Mirzadeh and HFIR have played important roles in making ORNL the leading or sole U.S. supplier of many of the medical radioisotopes in use today," ORNL Director Thom Mason said. "Winning the Seaborg Medal is an exceedingly appropriate recognition of his outstanding accomplishments."

A senior researcher in the Nuclear Science and Technology Division, Mirzadeh joined ORNL in 1989 after working as a staff scientist in the Medical Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He earned his B.S. in chemistry from National University of Iran and his Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico. He did postdoctoral work at Los Alamos and Brookhaven national laboratories, where he made significant contributions to the accelerator and cyclotron production of radioisotopes.

He also has worked as a scientist for the National Institutes of Health; a Visiting Scientist for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation; and an adjunct faculty member at Long Island University.

At ORNL, Mirzadeh collaborates extensively with colleagues at other national labs and in industry and academia, including the University of Tennessee. He has supervised a number of postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. candidates and M.S. students, and mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, many who have made significant contributions of their own in the field.

Mirzadeh will be recognized in November at the ANS Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. For more information on the Seaborg Medal award, go to: http://www.ans.org/honors/va-seaborg

More information on Glenn Seaborg is available at: http://www.osti.gov/accomplishments/seaborg.html.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.