SHINE Medical Technologies: To share in new round of federal funding for medical isotope project
Contact: Lori Richards
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Progress with technology development keeps human health benefits, national security, and job creation goals on track
MADISON, Wis. — SHINE Medical Technologies and its partner, the Morgridge Institute for Research, will collaborate on a $20.6 million cooperative agreement awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE-NNSA) to accelerate the development of a new process for the production of molybdenum-99, a medical isotope used in tens of thousands of imaging procedures each day in the United States and that will be produced without weapons-usable highly enriched uranium (HEU).
Progress by SHINE and the Morgridge Institute for Research on a series of programmatic and technical milestones enabled the latest round of federal funding. The project team, which includes collaborators at Phoenix Nuclear Labs, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Argonne National Laboratory, Savannah River National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, is led by the Morgridge Institute.
Thomas “Rock” Mackie, director of medical devices for the Morgridge Institute, serves as the principal investigator on the project. SHINE will serve as the primary subcontractor and retains rights to the technology developed under the consortium.
“We are grateful for the DOE-NNSA and the Morgridge Institute’s continuing support in our project,” said Greg Piefer, CEO of SHINE. “This funding will dramatically accelerate our efforts to establish a safer and more reliable supply of molybdenum-99 that will be produced without using HEU.”
SHINE Medical recently reached a decision to locate its production facility on an 84-acre site in Janesville. Piefer said the plant could create up to 150 permanent jobs.
This cooperative agreement is the second award, following a $1 million cooperative agreement awarded by the DOE-NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative in September 2010. Each of these cooperative agreements is implemented under an equal cost-sharing arrangement.
SHINE intends to produce molybdenum-99 and other useful medical isotopes at its plant. Molybdenum-99 decays into technetium-99m, which is used in 55,000 diagnostic nuclear imaging procedures each day in the U.S., primarily in the diagnoses of cardiac disease and cancer. The isotope is currently produced by a handful of aging nuclear reactors around the world, but those reactors are operating well past their prime and recently have experienced unscheduled shutdowns, causing a worldwide shortage of molybdenum-99. As a result, hospitals delayed or canceled millions of medical procedures.
SHINE’s alternative method to produce the isotope combines a technology developed by UW–Madison medical physics researcher and current university provost Paul DeLuca with an innovative process invented by Piefer of SHINE. The new method offers major advantages over existing technologies because it does not use highly enriched uranium, does not require a nuclear reactor and fits well with the nation’s existing supply chain.
About SHINE Medical Technologies
Founded in 2010 to pursue opportunities presented by its novel technology, SHINE Medical Technologies currently employs 15 people and plans to become the world leader in medical isotope production. For more information, visit: http://www.shinemed.com.