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The presentations below give overall background information on medical uses as well as some more specific information on Tc-99m and on isotopes for Positron Emission Tomography (PET) procedures. Technetium-99m is used in roughly 30 million medical imaging procedures a year -- roughly one per second -- making it the most extensively used radioisotope for medical diagnostics. See the table below for a list of radioisotopes and each of unique their half-lives. After 86 minutes, half of the atoms in the sample would have decayed into another element, Lanthanum-139.Let's look closely at how the half-life affects an isotope. Therefore, after one half-life, you would have 5 grams of Barium-139, and 5 grams of Lanthanum-139.U-235 decays to Pb-207 with a half-life of 704 million years.Due to its long half-life, U-235 is the best isotope for radioactive dating, particularly of older fossils and rocks. The half-life of C-14, however, is only 5,730 years.Detection of heart transplant rejection (C), imaging of abdominal infections (C), antibody labeling (C) cellular immunology (C), used with Ga-67 for soft tissue infection detection and ostemyelitis detection (C), concentrates in liver, kidneys (C), high specific activity (C), white blood cell imaging, cellular dosimetry, myocardial scans, treatment of leukemia, imaging tumors. Bone cancer pain palliation (improves the quality of life), cellular dosimetry, treatment of prostate cancer, treatment of multiple myeloma, osteoblastic therapy, potential agent for treatment of bone metastases from prostate and breast cancer (E).

Because of the demand and because the half-life is only 6 hours, fresh batches of the parent isotope Molybdenum-99 must be continually produced to satisfy worldwide demand. Kalen, Jennifer Hall, Report of Meeting Held to Discuss Existing and Future Radionuclide Requirements for the National Cancer Institute [April 2008] Making Medical Isotopes [TRIUMF, 2008] Advancing Nuclear Medicine Through Innovation [National Academies, 2007] New Frontiers of Science: DOE Fueling the Future of Nuclear Medicine, DOE, Office of Biological and Environmental Research [September 2007] Radiopharmaceutical Development and the Office of Science, Prepared by a Subcommittee of the Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee [April 2004] Expert Panel: Forecast Future Demand for Medical Isotopes [March 1999] Our Learn More page lists some valuable resources for nuclear information on medical radioisotopes, including: Medical Applications at the Nuclear Data Section - Nuclear Data Section, International Atomic Energy Agency Charged-particle cross section database for medical radioisotope production - Nuclear Data Section, International Atomic Energy Agency Cross section database for medical radioisotope production: Production of Therapeutic Radionuclides - Nuclear Data Section, International Atomic Energy Agency Cross Sections for Emerging Isotopes - Nuclear Data Section, International Atomic Energy Agency Recommended Charged-Particle Beam Monitor Cross Sections - Nuclear Data Section, International Atomic Energy Agency There are a number of external sites with information on medical isotpes, including: Radioisotopes in Medicine American College of Radiology American Nuclear Society American Chemical Society - Division of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology Food and Drug Administration - Radiation Emitting Products International Isotopes Society National Cancer Institute Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) - Advisory Committee on the Medical Uses of Isotopes Radiochemical Society Radiological Society of North America Society of Nuclear Medicine [SNM] Below we give a summary of the most prevalent nuclear medicine radioisotopes and their specific applications. Imaging of abdominal infections (C), detect Hodgkins/non-Hodgkins lymphoma (C), used with In-111 for soft tissue infections and osteomyelitis detection (C), evaluate sarcoidiodis and other granulomaous diseases, particularly in lungs and mediastiusim (C). Department of Energy Office of Energy and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (HERAC). Many rocks and organisms contain radioactive isotopes, such as U-235 and C-14.These radioactive isotopes are unstable, decaying over time at a predictable rate.Half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the parent isotopes to decay. In another 5,730 years, the organism will lose another half of the remaining C-14 isotopes.This process continues over time, with the organism losing half of the remaining C-14 isotopes each 5,730 years.Internal radiation therapy of liver cancer (C), monoclonal antibodies (C), Hodgkins disease, and hepatoma (C), cellular dosimetry, treating rheumatoid arthritis, treating breast cancer, treatment of gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas (A). National Biomedical Tracer Facility Planning and Feasibility Study. References: A = June 1996 Society of Nuclear Medicine (SNM) Abstracts B = Holmes, R. C-14 is another radioactive isotope that decays to C-12. Because of its short half-life, the number of C-14 isotopes in a sample is negligible after about 50,000 years, making it impossible to use for dating older samples. in Earth-Space Science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania.C-14 is used often in dating artifacts from humans. Fiore taught high school science for 7 years and offered several teacher workshops to regarding education techniques.As the isotopes decay, they give off particles from their nucleus and become a different isotope.The parent isotope is the original unstable isotope, and daughter isotopes are the stable product of the decay. In the first 5,730 years, the organism will lose half of its C-14 isotopes.


  1. Radioisotopes are used to diagnose and treat many medical. X Radiocarbon dating. Application Note 232 Radioisotopes in Everyday Life Author

  2. Radioisotopes can be used as tracers within a living organism to trace what is going on inside the organism at an atomic level; that is, radioisotopes can be injected.

  3. Medical Radioisotopes. One of the most important and compelling utilization of radioisotopes is for medical procedures, both for diagnostics and treatment.

  4. Radioactive Dating of Fossils. Fossils are collected along with rocks that occur from the same strata. These samples are carefully cataloged and analyzed with a mass.

  5. Use of Carbon-14 in Radiocarbon Dating Chemistry. Radiocarbon dating, or carbon-14 dating, can be used to date material that had its origins in a living thing.

  6. Uses of isotopes in our daily lives There are. Radioisotopes are also used as tracers. A small amount of sodium. This method is named asthe radiocarbon dating.

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