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New IAEA Collaborating Centre in Radioisotope and Radiopharmaceutical Production


Najat Mokhtar, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, presents the Collaborating Centre plaque for POR – ICNAS in the field of radiopharmacy, to Mr. Afonso Laginha, Counsellor, Alternate to the Resident Representative of Portugal to the IAEA (Photo: L. Han/IAEA)

The IAEA and the Institute for Nuclear Sciences Applied to Health, University of Coimbra, Portugal (POR-ICNAS) have agreed to work together in the area of radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals production. POR-ICNAS will be the first IAEA Collaborating Centre in the field of cyclotron radiopharmaceutical production as well as the first one dedicated entirely to field of radiopharmacy.

Cyclotrons are important facilities for producing radiopharmaceuticals for non-communicable diseases, in particular for cancers and neurological diseases. Cyclotrons are the main source for the production of positron emitting radioisotopes to be used in the PET technology for diagnosis in nuclear medicine. A large number of IAEA Member States are focusing on the installation of facilities for generation and development of cyclotron-based radiopharmaceuticals. (See the IAEA Database of Cyclotrons for Radionuclide Production here). The need for an IAEA collaborating centre in this area was the driving force behind the recognition of ICNAS as the 46th IAEA Collaborating Centre.

An agreement was signed during the 64th IAEA General Conference designating POR-ICNAS as an IAEA Collaborating Centre until 2024. The agreement focuses on a number of areas, including:

  • new production routes of nuclides;
  • new and improved radiopharmaceuticals;
  • new scanner technology;
  • pre-clinical development and translation of new tracers into clinical trials.

ICNAS will support the IAEA in developing and implementing activities in R&D of new techniques in the development of medical radioisotopes; regulatory aspects of medical radioisotope production; quality control and assurance in the production of radioisotopes; and education and certification in radioisotope/radiopharmaceutical production using a cyclotron.

“ICNAS will provide valuable support to Portuguese, Spanish and French-speaking Member States in the education and training of their workforce in the field of human health,” said Najat Mokhtar, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, during the signing ceremony.


IAEA Collaborating Centres

To promote the practical use of nuclear technologies, the IAEA collaborates with designated institutions around the world. Through the Collaborating Centres network, these organizations in Member States can assist the IAEA by undertaking original research and development and training relating to nuclear science, technologies and their safe and secure applications. With the newly designated POR-ICNAS Collaborating Centre, there are now 46 active Collaborating Centres worldwide, with ongoing discussions in several countries to establish new Centres.

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