DTU Enhances Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis with New Cyclotrons at Hevesy Laboratory

DTU is to double its production capacity of radioactive substances for cancer treatment with the help of two new cyclotrons. Photo: Joachim Rode

The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has taken a significant leap forward in cancer treatment and diagnostic research with the addition of two new cyclotrons at the Hevesy Laboratory. Situated five meters underground at DTU Risø Campus, these cyclotrons, housed in a newly constructed 100 square meter bunker, mark a pivotal advancement in the production of radioactive substances used in medical imaging and cancer treatment.

Unlike traditional nuclear reactors, cyclotrons are a safer alternative for radionuclide production, as they do not use nuclear fuel and have fewer safety and security concerns. However, installing these complex machines required meticulous planning, especially considering the lab's proximity to Roskilde Fjord and the potential flooding risks, as noted by Mattia Siragusa, head of the Hevesy Laboratory.

Previously, the laboratory's single cyclotron limited research activities due to the high demand for radionuclide production for patient PET scans. With the addition of two more cyclotrons, researchers can now pursue more innovative experiments without the fear of interrupting patient treatment schedules. This expansion opens doors for exploring therapeutic radionuclides, which can combine diagnosis and therapy by using a diagnostic tracer for precise PET imaging and a therapeutic radionuclide for accurate cancer treatment.

Senior radiochemist Kristina Søborg Pedersen expresses excitement about advancing research in therapeutic radionuclides, offering potential for improved patient care. This development is particularly timely, considering the increasing number of cancer cases in Denmark and globally.

Concluding Insights:

DTU's investment in the Hevesy Laboratory's new cyclotrons represents a crucial step in the evolution of cancer diagnostics and treatment. By expanding radionuclide production and research capabilities, DTU is positioning itself at the forefront of medical innovation, with the potential to make a profound impact on cancer care.

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