The shortage of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), which is used to create the crucial nuclear imaging radioisotope Technetium-99m, is expected to improve in the coming weeks.
The High Flux Reactor in the Netherlands returned to service Oct. 31 and the production in European Mo-99 processing facilities has gradually increased, according to an announcement from the Society of Nuclear Medicine & Molecular Imaging. Australia’s OPAL reactor also returned to service Nov. 8 after a planned shutdown for maintenance, the announcement stated.
Combined, these developments “should ease the Mo-99/I-131 shortage beginning next week,” according to SNMMI.
This news comes about a week after Marcelo DiCarli, MD, the chief of nuclear medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told Cardiovascular Business that nuclear medicine clinics in the U.S. could be operating at about 25 percent capacity due to the shortages. The simultaneous shutdown of three of the world’s six facilities prompted those predictions for a country that uses roughly half of the world’s supply of Technetium-99m but doesn’t yet have the ability to produce the isotope domestically.
SNMMI advised its members to continue to communicate with their nuclear pharmacy providers about their specific, local situations.