Tuesday, 06/22/2021 18:22 GMT+7

Dalat Nuclear Research Reactor brings the chances of survival for thousands of cancer patients during the Covid-19 pandemic

Since early 2020, imported radioisotopes to Vietnam have been limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak. In Vietnam, thousands of cancer patients would not be promptly diagnosed and treated without the radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals supplied by the Dalat Nuclear Research Institute (DNRI).

Radioisotopes are an essential part of diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, so the demand for using these substances is increasing more and more while the DNRI only supplies 60% of radioisotopes to nuclear medicine departments across the country, 40% has to be imported from abroad. In 2020 the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak caused the limitation of radioisotopes import. Thus, the Dalat Nuclear Research Reactor (DNRR) had to operate for nearly 4,300 hours, 3 times higher than the period 2010 - 2019, radiopharmaceuticals production doubled despite the shortage of foreign supplies. Specifically, the DNRR produced more than 1000 Ci radioisotopes "made in Vietnam", meeting 100% of the demand of domestic nuclear medicine departments and exporting 6.0 Ci to Cambodia.

Cancer is considered a death sentence for poor patients. However, the drugs -  "made in Da Lat" cost only 25% of the import price, which have brought the survival for thousands of poor patients in Vietnam every year.

The radioisotopes produced by the DNRR saved thousands of cancer patients’ lives in Vietnam

Over the past 37 years, the DNRI has gained many achievements and completely mastered the reactor and technology in researching and producing radiopharmaceuticals for domestic use. Currently, the production line of radiopharmaceuticals at the DNRR has been granted a WHO-GMP certificate by the Ministry of Health.

In the 4.0 technology revolution, the radioisotope products from DNRR are not only play a vital role in diagnosing and treating cancer but also play a decisive role in many fields, such as: water resources evaluation; hydrogeological research; environmental protection, etc...

It is forecasted that the market of application of nuclear reactor products will increase rapidly in the coming time. Therefore, the Project of building a new Center for Nuclear Science and Technology, with a 10 MW reactor (20 times larger than the power of DNRR) has been started on the basis of the Russia-Vietnam Intergovernmental Agreement signed on November 21, 2011. The new reactor is expected to be built in Dong Nai Province. Its main purposes are to improve national nuclear science and technology potential, contribute to socio-economic development, as well as replace the DNRR that is about to expire.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of poor patients have been diagnosed and treated by radioisotopes produced by DNRR with reasonable cost. However, with the low power at present, the DNRR only temporarily meets the domestic demands but unavailable for export.

It is hoped that "made in Dong Nai" radiopharmaceuticals will soon be launched to benefit millions of poor patients and promote the sustainable development of agricultural and industrial sectors in Vietnam.

DNRI

Source: Dalat Nuclear Research Institute

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