Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the parent isotope of Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), is used in approximately 50,000 diagnostic medical procedures every day in the United States. Mo-99 is one of the most ideal radioisotopes for certain medical imaging tests because it results in the least amount of radioactive exposure for patients. It has a very short half-life and therefore must be produced on a continuous basis to meet the needs of the medical community. Any interruptions in production can place patients at great risk of not getting much-needed “standard of care” diagnostic tests.
The U.S. consumes approximately one-half of the world’s supply of Mo-99, but has no domestic source of supply. The two primary sources of Mo-99 used in the U.S. are located in Canada and the Netherlands, which provide more than half of the world’s supply. These reactors are each nearly 50 years old and without a sufficient domestic supply, patient access to important nuclear medicine procedures becomes severely compromised.