Tehran, Iran, Feb. 5
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says Iranian researchers at the Khandab Research Reactor have been able to produce Oxygen-18 at 97 percent of purity.
Oxygen-18 is a natural, stable isotope of oxygen and is an important precursor for the production of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) used in positron emission tomography (PET). Oxygen-18 in the water or gaseous form serves as a source for short-lived positron-emitting isotope fluorine-18, which allows tracking the processes of cerebral blood flow, glucose metabolism in the central nervous and cardiovascular systems, evaluating the impact of drugs on neuroreceptors.
“I officially announce that researchers at Khandab are able to produce Oxygen-18 at a purity of 97 percent with a capacity of about 60 kg per year. From now on, Iran is not only self-sufficient in the PET drug production, but also can export Oxygen-18,” Salehi told reporters while visiting the Arak Heavy Water Plant in Markazi Province, Trend reports citing ISNA.
“We buy Oxygen-18 for $30,000 per kg from abroad, but after four years of research, scientists have finally managed to produce it, taking a big step,” he said.
“The number of countries that produce Oxygen-18 is very small, and in fact its production is monopolized by several countries. We have been able to break this monopoly and achieve self-sufficiency.”