Background In this work, a lutetium-177 (177Lu) production method based on the separation of nuclear isomers, 177mLu & 177Lu, is reported. The 177mLu-177Lu separation is performed by combining the use of DOTA & DOTA-labelled peptide (DOTATATE) and liquid-liquid extraction. Methods The 177mLu cations were complexed with DOTA & DOTATATE and kept at 77 K for periods of time to allow 177Lu production. The freed 177Lu ions produced via internal conversion of 177mLu were then extracted in dihexyl ether using 0.01 M di-(2-ethylhexyl) phosphoric acid (DEHPA) at room temperature. The liquid-liquid extractions were performed periodically for a period up to 35 days. Results A maximum 177Lu/177mLu activity ratio of 3500 ± 500 was achieved with [177mLu]Lu-DOTA complex, in comparison to 177Lu/177mLu activity ratios of 1086 ± 40 realized using [177mLu]Lu-DOTATATE complex. The 177Lu-177mLu separation was found to be affected by the molar ratio of lutetium and DOTA. A 177Lu/177mLu activity ratio up to 3500 ± 500 was achieved with excess DOTA in comparison to 177Lu/177mLu activity ratio 1500 ± 600 obtained when lutetium and DOTA were present in molar ratio of 1:1. Further, the 177Lu ion extraction efficiency, decreases from 95 ± 4% to 58 ± 2% in the presence of excess DOTA. Conclusion The reported method resulted in a 177Lu/ 177mLu activity ratio up to 3500 after the separation. This ratio is close to the lower end of 177Lu/177mLu activity ratios, attained currently during the direct route 177Lu production for clinical applications (i.e. 4000–10,000). This study forms the basis for further extending the liquid-liquid extraction based 177mLu-177Lu separation in order to lead to a commercial 177mLu/177Lu radionuclide generator.
- 177mLu/177Lu radionuclide generator
- Nuclear isomer separation
- 177Lu production
- OA-Fund TU Delft