Vol 22, No 2 (2019)
Research paper
Published online: 2019-05-31

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Improved procedures of Sc(OH)3 precipitation and UTEVA extraction for 44Sc separation

Wioletta Wojdowska1, Dariusz Pawlak1, Izabela Cieszykowska1, Małgorzata Żółtowska1, Tomasz Janiak1, Tadeusz Barcikowski1, Anna Stolarz2, Jarosław Choiński2, Józef Parus1, Piotr Garnuszek1, Renata Mikołajczak1
DOI: 10.5603/NMR.a2019.0013
Pubmed: 31482557
Nucl. Med. Rev 2019;22(2):56-59.


BACKGROUND: 44Sc is becoming attractive as a PET radionuclide due to its decay characteristics. It can be produced from 44Ca present in natural calcium with 2.08% abundance.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The targets were mostly prepared from natural CaCO3 or metallic calcium in the form of pellets. After irradiation they were dissolved in 3 M hydrochloric acid and 44Sc was separated from excess of calcium by precipitation of scandium hydroxide using ammonia. Alternatively, targets were dissolved in 11 M hydrochloric acid and 44Sc was separated by extraction chromatography on UTEVA resin. As the next step, in both processes 44Sc was further purified on a cation exchange resin. Initially, the separation procedures were developed with 46Sc as a tracer. Gamma spectrometry with a high purity germanium detector was used to determine the separation efficiency. Finally, the CaCO3 pellet with 99.2% enrichment in 44Ca was activated with protons via 44Ca(p,n)44Sc nuclear reaction.

RESULTS: Altogether twenty two irradiations and separations were performed. The working procedures were developed and the quality of separated 44Sc solution was confirmed by radiolabeling of DOTATATE. The chemical purity of the product was sufficient for preclinical experiments. At the end of around 1 hour proton beam irradiation of CaCO3 pellet with 99.2% enrichment in 44Ca the obtained radioactivity of 44Sc was more than 4.8 GBq.

CONCLUSION: 44Sc can be produced inexpensively with adequate yields and radionuclidic purity via 44Ca(p,n)44Sc nuclear reaction in small cyclotrons. The recovery yield in both investigated separation methods was comparable and amounted above 90%. The obtained 44Sc was pure in terms of radionuclide and chemical purity, as shown by the results of peptide radiolabeling.

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