Home Radiation Hitachi, Tohoku University and Kyoto University become the first in the world to implement technology for the highly efficient and high-quality production of actinium-225, a material required for internal radiation therapy called TAT

Hitachi, Tohoku University and Kyoto University become the first in the world to implement technology for the highly efficient and high-quality production of actinium-225, a material required for internal radiation therapy called TAT


Help speed the market for a type of radiation therapy that is effective against cancer that has spread widely in the body

TOKYO, October 19, 2021 – (JCN Newswire) – Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), Tohoku University and Kyoto University have become the first (1) in the world to implement technology for the highly efficient and high-quality production of actinium-225 (225Ac), a substance required for a form of radiation therapy known as alpha-targeted therapy (TAT). TAT is a new cancer therapy that combines a substance that emits alpha particles that destroy cancer cells with a compound that selectively accumulates in cancer cells. The combined alpha emitter is given to a patient to attack cancer cells in the body (Figure 1). It is known for its efficacy against forms of cancer that are difficult to treat with existing treatment methods, including cancer cells widely distributed in the body, and its practical applications are eagerly awaited. The tripartite team has now implemented technology that allows high quality 225Ac to be produced efficiently without producing impurities, which are usually difficult to separate, using a linear electron accelerator (2) with radium -226 (226Ra) as raw material.

Figure 1: Principle of Targeted Alpha Therapy (TAT)
Figure 2: Method of Producing 225Ac Using a Linear Electron Accelerator

Hitachi, Tohoku University and Kyoto University will continue their research and development efforts to commercialize this production technology, to help bring TAT into clinical practice, and ultimately improve the quality of life (QoL) of patients. cancer patients. In addition, Hitachi is expected to launch a study to assess the applicability (3) of 225Ac produced using this new technology in pharmaceuticals in October 2021 in collaboration with the National Cancer Center Japan. Hitachi strives to continue research and development that promotes the safety and security (a healthy and comfortable life for every individual) of the company.

Types of radiation therapy include external and internal. External radiation uses beams of radiation delivered outside the body to target cancer cells, while internal radiation involves internal delivery of radiation. TAT is a form of treatment in which alpha emitting agents are delivered to the body to selectively target cancer cells while producing fewer side effects. It is a potentially promising form of treatment, especially for cancers that are difficult to treat with existing methods, including advanced cancer where cells are widely distributed throughout the body. Following a report * 4 of its high therapeutic effects in patients with metastatic prostate cancer, therapies using 225Ac as an alpha emitter have been investigated for their efficacy and safety in clinical trials (5) through the world. However, the only established method of producing 225Ac which has been one that uses thorium-229, a nuclear material (6) difficult to handle, and which produces only a small amount of 225Ac (63 GBq / year). (7) This has posed obstacles to any widespread use of TAT, as 225Ac is not available in sufficient quantities.

To deal with the situation, Hitachi, the Tohoku University Research Center for Electron and Photon Science, and the Institute for Integrated Nuclear and Radiological Sciences at Kyoto University have joined forces to develop a Ac 225 production method that does not involve nuclear material by applying technologies that Hitachi has accumulated in the fields of particle therapy and nuclear power generation. Together, they successfully established for the first time a highly efficient and high quality 225Ac production technology that uses a linear electron accelerator with 226Ra as the source material. This production method involves the use of highly penetrating Bremsstrahlung (8) radiation to irradiate 226Ra. As well as being an efficient production method, it also produces high quality 225Ac as it does not produce hard-to-separate impurities (Figure 2).

The team conducted a proof-of-principle test on the production of 225Ac using a small amount of 226Ra and collected detailed data on the photonuclear reactions of 226Ra. (9) Based on the test results, the team , in a joint research project with the addition of researchers from the Materials Research Institute of Tohoku University, who have the technology to process large amounts of radium, succeeded in producing about 370 kBq of 225Ac, an amount sufficient for the future evaluation of its applicability in pharmaceuticals. This represents a major advance for the commercial application of this production method, so that the amount of 225Ac currently produced in the world in one year (63 GBq / year) (7) can be produced in one day. (10)

Part of these results will be shared in the form of a top-rated oral presentation at the 34th Annual Congress of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (11), which will take place from October 20 to 23, 2021.

(1) World first as a technology using a linear electron accelerator to produce 225Ac by a photonuclear reaction of
226Ra as the source material.
(2) A type of linear particle accelerator that accelerates electrons to produce a high energy beam.
(3) An assessment of the efficacy and stability levels of 225Ac bound to the drug.
(4) C. Kratochwil et al., J Nucl Med. 2016, vol.57, p1941-1944.
(5) A scientific research method that examines the efficacy and safety of a new drug or therapy in healthy adult or patient populations.
(6) A material that makes nuclear fuel in nuclear power plants (uranium, plutonium, thorium)
(7) AKH Robertson et al., Curr. Radiopharm., 2018, vol.11, p156-172.
(8) Electromagnetic radiation produced by irradiating the target metal with high energy electrons.
(9) A type of nuclear reaction caused by high energy photons (like bremsstrahlung).
(10) The estimates were made on the basis of the results of simulations using the theoretical values ​​of the reaction cross section (reaction probability) and the quantities of 225Ac produced during proof-of-principle tests.
(11) The 34th annual congress of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM2021). https://eanm21.eanm.org/

About Hitachi, Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, contributes to a sustainable society with better quality of life by driving innovation through data and technology as a social innovation enterprise . Hitachi is focused on strengthening its contribution to the environment, resilient business and social infrastructure, and comprehensive programs to improve safety and security. Hitachi solves challenges faced by customers and society in six areas: IT, energy, mobility, industry, smart life and automotive systems with its proprietary Lumada solutions. The company’s consolidated revenue for fiscal 2020 (ended March 31, 2021) was 8,729.1 billion yen ($ 78.6 billion), with 871 consolidated subsidiaries and approximately 350,000 employees worldwide . For more information about Hitachi, please visit the company’s website at https://www.hitachi.com.

About the TohokuU Research Center for Electron-Photon Science

The Research Center for Electron-Photon Science (ELPH) is a research institute affiliated with Tohoku University. Equipped with a linear electron accelerator and a synchrotron-electron amplifier accelerator, ELPH has the capacity to generate up to 1.3 GeV of electron or photon beams and makes them available to researchers. within the framework of scientific experiments within the framework of the national program “Joint Usage”. In addition to promoting research on the structure and nature of materials in a wide range of fields, from quarks and hadrons found in atomic nuclei to materials science. ELPH pursues cutting-edge research in accelerator science and beam physics to enable even more advanced beam-based experiments.

About the TohokuU Materials Research Institute

The Materials Research Institute (IMR) is a research institute affiliated with Tohoku University, which is dedicated to researching scientific principles related to materials science and their applications. By combining science with engineering, IMR is engaged in research and teaching activities in the field of materials science, covering both basic and applied research.

About the KyotoU Institute for Integrated Radiation and Nuclear Science

The Institute for Integrated Radiation and Nuclear Science at Kyoto University is engaged in isotope application chemistry research and educational activities in a wide range of fields including physics, chemistry, biology, l engineering, agriculture and medicine, using two research reactors (KUR and KUCA) and accelerators, as a designated research center under the Joint Usage / Research Center in National Universities program.


For more information, use the inquiry form below to contact the Research & Development Group, Hitachi, Ltd. Make sure to include the title of the article.

Research Center for Electronic Photon Science (ELPH), Tohoku University Hidetoshi Kikunaga, Associate Professor
1-2-1 Mikamine, Taihaku-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 982-0826 JAPAN
Phone: + 81-22-743-3425
Email: [email protected]

Alpha Ray Emitter Laboratory, Materials Research Institute, Tohoku University Kenji Shirasaki, Head of Laboratory / Senior Assistant Professor
2-1-1 Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8577 JAPAN
Phone: + 81-22-215-2161
Email: [email protected]

Institute of Integrated Nuclear and Radiological Sciences, Kyoto University
2-1010, Asashiro-Nishi, Kumatori-cho, Sennan-gun, Osaka 590-0494 JAPAN
Phone: + 81-72-451-2300

Source: Hitachi, Ltd.

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