Radium-223 is a short-lived alpha-particle-emitting radionuclide with potential applications in cancer treatment.
Research to develop new radiopharmaceuticals employing 223Ra has been hindered by poor availability due to the
small quantities of parent actinium-227 available world-wide. The purpose of this study was to develop innovative and
cost-effective methods to obtain high-purity 223Ra from 227Ac. We obtained 227Ac from two surplus actinium-beryllium
neutron generators. We retrieved the actinium/beryllium buttons from the sources and dissolved them in a sulfuric-nitric
acid solution. A crude actinium solid was recovered from the solution by coprecipitation with thorium fluoride, leaving
beryllium in solution. The crude actinium was purified to provide about 40 milligrams of actinium nitrate using anion exchange
in methanol-water-nitric acid solution. The purified actinium was then used to generate high-purity 223Ra. We extracted
223Ra using anion exchange in a methanol-water-nitric acid solution. After the radium was separated, actinium and
thorium were then eluted from the column and dried for interim storage. This single-pass separation produces high purity,
carrier-free 223Ra product, and does not disturb the 227Ac/227Th equilibrium. A high purity, carrier-free 227Th was also obtained
from the actinium using a similar anion exchange in nitric acid. These methods enable efficient production of 223Ra
for research and new alpha-emitter radiopharmaceutical development.
Keywords: Alpha emitters, actinium-227, thorium-227, radium-223, anion exchange, biokinetics, monoclonal antibodies, polyethylene liners
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