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News From the Food and Drug Administration
March 20, 2018

Domestically Produced Radioisotope

JAMA. 2018;319(11):1086. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.1807

The FDA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) have collaborated to establish a stable, domestic supply of the most widely used radioisotope in medical imaging.

Technetium Tc 99m (99mTc), which is used in more than 40 000 imaging procedures daily in the United States, helps in diagnosing heart disease, cancer, infection, and inflammation. However, it’s often in short supply because of a complex supply chain. Technetium Tc 99m is the decay product of molybdenum 99 (99Mo), which is produced from highly enriched uranium. Because all of the reactors used in the production process are outside of the country, the United States shipped enriched uranium to those facilities and the resulting 99Mo was shipped back.