Glance into the future of nuclear medicine


On 11 May, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) organized the 6th Symposium on Medical Radioisotopes in Mechelen in collaboration with the European Isotope Transport Association (EITA) & Isotopes Services International (ISI). In the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid, around one hundred Belgian and European experts assisted to the Symposium to discuss the latest progress and challenges in the field.

The Symposium on Medical Radioisotopes  was devoted to future challenges for nuclear medicine. This was a successful edition with a record-breaking attendance. Lots and lots of researchers, professors and professionals in the field came to discuss the progress made in production, transport and treatment. Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid, who recently visited SCK•CEN to meet its young researchers, also wanted to come to discover the developments made in nuclear medicine. 

All aspects of medical radioisotopes supply chain were discussed during this 6th edition. Everything begins with the production. SCK•CEN is one of the world’s largest medical radioisotope producers. Those radioisotopes are essential to diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases, namely cancer. SCK•CEN’s BR2 research reactor produces up to 65% of the global demand in molybdenum-99 each year. In 2016, the refurbishment of the reactor was finalized so it could fulfill its vital producer role. Thanks to the Belgian radioisotope production, some 7 million people benefit from a diagnostic examination each year.

“SCK•CEN caters to the growing needs of the sector for the production of radioisotopes”, explains Bernard Ponsard, Radioisotopes project manager at SCK•CEN. “We recently renewed our research reactor BR2 and we are working on developing the new research infrastructure called MYRRHA. Thanks to innovative research, we want to help nuclear medicine to flourish by developing new types of radioisotopes which will fight diseases even more effectively and with less harmful side effects”.



From left to right:
Herman De Croo, Minister of State
Cathy Berx, Governor of the province of Antwerp
HRH Prinses Astrid
Bart Somers, Mayor of Mechelen
Frank Deconinck, Honorary Member of SCK•CEN Board of Governors
Yvan Bruynseraede, Professor Emeritus at KU Leuven
Michel Giot, Member of SCK•CEN Board of Governors