The Lu-177g (t1/2 = 6.734 d, beta- emission 100 %, E(beta-,max) = 489.3 keV and E(gamma)= 208.4 keV) is one of the therapeutic beta emitting RNs, which is starting to find several applications in nuclear medicine, especially for metabolic radiotherapy of cancer and radioimmunotherapy, thanks to its favorable decay characteristics (half-life of the order of few days, relative low energy of negatrons and gamma emission suitable for detection).
Lu-177g is mainly produced in thermal nuclear reactor either in carried added (CA) form by direct neutron capture reaction 176Lu(n,gamma)177Lu on enriched Lu-176 target, or by neutron capture reaction on enriched 176Yb target, followed by negatron decay. This second method produces a high specific activity (AS) no-carrier-added (NCA) radionuclide, since Yb-177 decays with an half-life of 1.7 hours to the ground state Lu-177g only, without formation of the long-lived isotopic impurity Lu-177m (half-life = 160 h).
In order to obtain high As NCA Lu-177g, with this project we want to study the feasibility to produce this radionuclide by deuteron cyclotron irradiation of ytterbium targets of natural isotopic composition or of Yb target highly enriched in Yb-176.
L'acquisto di 1 grammo di Yb-176 (12 kEuro) ha permesso di concludere l'esperimento, anche se ulteriori misure approfondite sono ancora in corso nel 2012.