After more than 20 years of experience in working with the α-emitting radionuclide Astatine-211 (At-211) the chemistry branch of the TAT-group has begun developing an automatic system for production of At-211-radiopharmaceuticals.
This branch of the chemistry research of the TAT group resulted in the formation of the spin-off company Alpha Therapy Solutions AB in 2019 (see link in above)
Although manual methods of synthesizing At-211 radiopharmaceuticals can be feasible, they would require expert skills and result in only small scale production. This is why future clinical advancements with At-211 will rely on the possibility of automatic production, similar to the development in PET radiochemistry. An automated system is not only useful for standardizing radiopharmaceutical preparations and increasing radiation safety but also reduces the risk of human error.
Our method is based on the combination of dry distillation to isolate astatine-211 in a chemical useful form and a synthesis module for producing radiopharmaceuticals. These components have been merged into a complete automatic process platform where the unique hardware is controlled by a single computer software.
To increase radiation safety, the system is adapted to fit inside a glovebox or a small lead-shielded, hot-cell to minimize exposure to the volatile, radioactive astatine. This compact platform is very versatile as it can accommodate any type of target used for the cyclotron production of astatine. This, since the target material is separated from the target backing before being placed in the furnace.