Harnessing the Power of Uranium to Treat Disease

Uranium to Treat Cancer

Uranium to Treat Cancer

Alpha particle bombarded cancer tissue: a generator holds uranium-230 to produce thorium-226; further decay to short-lived daughters emits four more alpha particles resulting in a very high combined radiation dose delivered to cancer cells.

The Science                                

Scientists have developed a new system for producing radioactive isotopes, or “radioisotopes” for cancer therapy. The system uses a simple radionuclide generator to repeatedly separate thorium-226 from its longer-lived parent isotope, uranium-230. Both of these isotopes emit radioactive alpha particles. This makes them candidates for use in targeted alpha therapy agents. These are substances that deliver targeted particles to treat disease. The uranium-230/thorium-226 pair has the unique advantage of emitting multiple alpha particles as they decay. This means they can deliver more destructive energy to cancer cells.

See full highlight at OfficeofScience.gov