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Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause in OECD member countries, accounting for nearly 10 million fatalities in 2020 with one in five people at risk of developing cancer in their lifetime. By 2040, these numbers are expected to reach 27.5 million new cancer cases and 16.3 million cancer deaths, solely due to the growth and aging of the population. Current treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy continue to make significant progress in both curing patients and extending lives.

Today the advent of novel radioisotopes and radioligand therapy (RLT) technologies carry the promise to further revolutionise cancer diagnostics and therapeutics. Health care systems will need to adapt to significant gaps in specific infrastructure requirements for RTL technologies, as well as workforce, regulatory, and health care system requirements.

Second International Workshop on Medical Radioisotopes Supply

The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), US Department of Energy (DOE) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) will co-organise the second International Workshop on Medical Radioisotopes Supply at the OECD in Paris on 24-25 October 2024. The event will gather governmental decision makers, private sector representatives, health organisations and researchers to chart the development of secure supply chains for conventional and innovative nuclear radioisotopes in the medical field.

The event builds on the success of the first (Restricted access link) which brought together in person and online over 270 experts.

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Participants of the first NEA International Workshop on Medical Radioisotopes Supply held in Paris in October 2023.

NEA’s work on the security of supply of medical radioisotopes

NEA’s support for global efforts to ensure a reliable supply of medical radioisotopes dates to 2009 during substantial shortages for Molybdenum-99 (99Mo) and its decay product Technetium-99m (99mTc). This led to the establishment of the High-Level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR), comprised of experts representing 18 countries (including some non-NEA member countries), the European Commission’s Euratom Supply Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Work by the High-Level Group helped inform policy decisions to stabilise supplies, although shortages reappeared at times during 2017-2019. The HLG-MR ran for four consecutive mandates and formally concluded its activities at the end of 2018. NEA is now refocusing on medical radioisotopes given persisting interruptions in the security of supply, as well as the potential health and economic benefits from the next generation of radioisotopes.

Current analytical work includes the publication of NEA’s latest assessment on the security of supply of 99Mo and 99mTc entitled The Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes: Demand and Capacity Projections for 99Mo/99mTc for the 2023-2027 Period, which compares NEA demand estimates with projections of production capacity and facility utilisation for 99Mo and 99mTc. These projections are intended to help policymakers, producers of medical isotopes, and other stakeholders make the appropriate decisions to ensure an economically sustainable, long-term, and secure supply of the medical isotopes 99Mo and 99mTc out to 2027 and beyond. NEA is also looking to explore the latest developments, challenges, and opportunities in the production, distribution, and utilisation of Lutetium-177 (177Lu) and other emerging reactor medical isotopes such as Actinium-225 (225Ac) for therapeutics. This includes a broad study, in collaboration with the Health Division of the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, as well as with selected industry stakeholders, on potential, and challenges of RLT for cancer treatment.

The road ahead

Responding to a consensus among stakeholders, the second International Workshop on Medical Radioisotopes will add a focus on key topics such as the role and challenges of 177Lu, 225Ac and other innovative medical radioisotopes, strengthening the medical radioisotope supply chain’s resiliency through monitoring supply and demand, and critical infrastructure needs across medical systems.

The workshop offers an outreach and sponsorship opportunity, where you can exhibit the expertise of medical radioisotope organisations in an energised and focused setting. Please contact for further information.

More information and registration.

See also