Media Contact: Ron Walli
Communications and Media 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.