Title:
METHOD FOR PURIFICATION OF 225AC FROM IRRADIATED 226RA-TARGETS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention describes a method for purification of 225Ac from irradiated 226Ra-targets provided on a support, comprising a leaching treatment of the 226Ra-targets for leaching essentially the entirety of 225Ac and 226Ra with nitric or hydrochloric acid, followed by a first extraction chromatography for separating 225Ac from 226Ra and other Ra-isotopes and a second extraction chromatography for separating 225Ac from 210Po and 210Pb. The finally purified 225Ac can be used to prepare compositions useful for pharmaceutical purposes.



Inventors:
Moreno Bermudez, Josue Manuel (Ismaning, DE)
Turler, Andreas (Ismaning, DE)
Henklemann, Richard (Freising, DE)
Kabai, Eva (Eching, DE)
Huenges, Ernst (Garching, DE)
Application Number:
12/280079
Publication Date:
07/30/2009
Filing Date:
02/19/2007
Assignee:
ACTINIUM PHARMACEUTICALS INC. (Florham Park, NJ, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
420/591, 75/393
International Classes:
A61K51/00; C22B60/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PERREIRA, MELISSA JEAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILMERHALE/NEW YORK (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
1. Method for purification of 225Ac from irradiated 226Ra-targets provided on a support, comprising the following steps: a) at least one leaching treatment of the 226Ra-targets for leaching essentially the entirety of 225Ac and 226Ra with nitric or hydrochloric acid under refluxing conditions; b) removing HCl if the solvent in step b) is hydrochloric acid and redissolving the resulting material in nitric acid; c) concentrating the 225Ac and 226Ra containing extracts; d) separating 225Ac from 226Ra and other Ra-isotopes by means of at least one first extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a first extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula I in at least one compound in accordance with general formula II, wherein in formula I: R1, R2 independently is octyl, n-octyl, phenyl, or phenyl substituted with C1 to C3 alkyl; R3, R4 independently is propyl, isopropyl, butyl, or isobutyl; wherein in formula II: R5, R6, and R7 independently is C2-C5 alkyl, in particular, butyl, or isobutyl; e) eluting 225Ac which is retained on the solid support from the stationary phase with diluted nitric or hydrochloric acid, whereas 226Ra is passing through; f) separating 225Ac from 210Po and 210Pb by means of at least one second extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a second extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula III in at least one compound in accordance with general formula IV, wherein in formula III: R8 and R9 independently is H, C1-C6 alkyl, or t-butyl; and wherein in formula IV: R10 is C4 to C12 alkyl; g) using 2M HCl as mobile phase; and h) recovering 225Ac from the flow-through, whereas 210Po and 210Pb are retained on the solid support.

2. Method for purification of 225Ac from irradiated 226Ra-targets provided on a support, comprising the following steps: a) at least one leaching treatment of the 226Ra-targets for leaching essentially the entirety of 225Ac and 226Ra with nitric or hydrochloric acid under refluxing conditions; b) removing HCl if the solvent in step b) is hydrochloric acid and redissolving the resulting material in nitric acid; c) concentrating the 225Ac and 226Ra containing extracts; d) separating 225Ac from 226Ra and other Ra-isotopes by means of at least one first extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a first extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula IA, wherein in formula IA: R1a, R2a, R3a, R4a independently is octyl or 2-ethylhexyl; e) eluting 225Ac which is retained on the solid support from the stationary phase with nitric acid within a concentration range of 0.3 M to 0.01 M or 1 M to 0.05 M hydrochloric acid, whereas 226Ra is passing through; f) separating 225Ac from 210Po and 210Pb by means of at least one second extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a second extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula III in at least one compound in accordance with general formula IV, wherein in formula III: R8 and R9 independently is H, C1-C6 alkyl, or t-butyl; and wherein in formula IV: R10 is C4 to C12 alkyl; g) using 2M HCl as mobile phase; and h) recovering 225Ac from the flow-through, whereas 210Po and 210Pb are retained on the solid support.

3. Method for purification of 225Ac from irradiated 226Ra-targets provided on a support, comprising the following steps: a) at least one leaching treatment of the 226Ra-targets for leaching essentially the entirety of 225Ac and 226Ra with nitric or hydrochloric acid under refluxing conditions; b) removing HCl if the solvent in step b) is hydrochloric acid and redissolving the resulting material in nitric acid; c) concentrating the 225Ac and 226Ra containing extracts; d) separating 225Ac from 226Ra and other Ra-isotopes by means of at least one first extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a first extractant system coated thereon, comprising a compound in accordance with formula IB, e) eluting 225Ac which is retained on the solid support from the stationary phase with nitric acid having a concentration lower than appr. 0.1 M and higher then appr. 0.02 M, whereas 226Ra is passing through; f) separating 225Ac from 210Po and 210Pb by means of at least one second extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a second extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula III in at least one compound in accordance with general formula IV, wherein in formula III: R8 and R9 independently is H, C1-C6 alkyl, or t-butyl; and wherein in formula IV: R10 is C4 to C12 alkyl; g) using 2M HCl as mobile phase; and h) recovering 225Ac from the flow-through, whereas 210Po and 210Pb are retained on the solid support.

4. Method according to claims 1 to 3, wherein the support is selected from the group consisting of metals, in particular Aluminum or Aluminum alloys, passivated Aluminum, anodized Aluminum, coated Aluminum, Aluminum coated with an element of the Platinum group; precious metals, in particular elements from the Platinum group; and mixtures thereof.

5. Method according to claims 1 to 4, wherein said nitric acid in step a) has a concentration range of appr. 0.001 M to 2 M, preferably appr. 0.1 M and said hydrochloric acid has a concentration range of 0.001 M to 2 M, and/or said acids are used at elevated temperatures, in particular, from appr. 30 to 90° C.

6. Method according to claims 1 to 5, wherein extracts from the leaching treatment are pooled.

7. Method according to claims 1 to 6, wherein in step c) a final concentration of 1.5 M to 10 M of nitric acid is achieved;

8. Method according to claim 1, wherein the first extractant system is octyl(phenyl)-N,N-diisobutylcarbamoylphosphine oxide [CMPO] in tributyl phosphate [TBP].

9. Method according to claims 1 to 3, wherein the second extractant system is a crown ether in accordance with formula V: in 1-octanol.

10. Method according to claim 9, wherein the second extractant system is 4,4′-bis(t-butylcyclohexano)-18-crown-6 in 1-octanol.

11. Method according to claim 9, wherein the second extractant system is 4,5′-bis(t-butylcyclohexano)-18-crown-6 in 1-octanol.

12. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the first extraction chromatography of step d) is repeated several times, in order to remove trace amounts of Ra-isotopes, depending on the desired purity of the 225Ac.

13. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the second extraction chromatography of step f) is repeated several times, depending on the desired purity of the 225Ac.

14. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein Radon which is contained in an Al-support and/or in the converted products is removed from the 225Ac products and the Al-support during the leaching process by means of suitable traps.

15. Method according to claim 14, wherein Rn is guided into a first alkaline trap to neutralize acidic vapours, into a subsequent silica trap to absorb water, and into a final activated coal trap, wherein the activated coal trap is optionally cooled.

16. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein 226Ra is recovered from the flow-through of step e).

17. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein 210Po is eluted from the solid support of the second extraction chromatography in step h) by means of concentrated nitric acid or concentrated hydrochloric acid, and 210Pb is eluted with concentrated hydrochloric acid or EDTA solution.

18. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein each purification step and/or fraction is checked by means of α- and/or γ-spectroscopy.

19. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein respective fractions containing: a) 225Ac; or b) Ra-isotopes; or c) 210Po; and d) 210Pb are evaporated to wet or dry residues and redissolved, if necessary.

20. Method according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein organic impurities are removed, preferably by passing through a resin which contains a non-ionic acrylic ester polymer.

21. Pharmaceutically acceptable 225Ac-containing radionuclide composition obtainable by a method in accordance with at least one of claims 1 to 20.

Description:

The present invention relates to a Method for purification of 225Ac from irradiated 226Ra-targets provided on a support according to claims 1 to 3. Furthermore, the invention relates to an 225Ac-containing radionuclide composition in accordance with claim 21.

In particular, the radionuclide 225Ac can be successfully used in nuclear medicine—bound to tumor specific antibodies—in various clinical trials in the treatment of cancer, particularly in form of its daughter nuclide 213Bi.

Already in 1993, criteria for the selection of radionuclides for immunotherapy with α-emitters and β-emitters were provided for the first time (GEERLINGS, M. W. (1993): Int. J. Biol. Markers, 8, 180-186: “Radionuclides for radioimmunotherapy: criteria for selection”) where it turned out due to the difference in energy that the radioactivity of α-emitters to be applied may be more than 1000 times lower than that of β-emitters, if a comparable effect is to be achieved.

Moreover, in the above literature, the α-emitting radionuclides 225Ac and its daughter isotope 213Bi turned out to be highly promising for the objects of radioimmunotherapy alongside the in principle usable, however relatively poorly available or instable antibody conjugate producing α-emitters: 211At, 255Fm, 212Bi/212Pb, 224Ra, 233Ra.

One of the fundamental studies for the foundation of a radioimmunotherapy with α-emitters is disclosed in GEERLINGS, M. W., KASPERSEN, F. M., APOSTOLIDIS; C. and VAN DER HOUT, R. (1993): Nuclear Medicine Communications 14, 121-125, “The feasibility of 225Ac as a source of α-particles in radioimmunotherapy”. Here it is described that 225Ac produced from 229Th and the daughter isotope of 225Ac, namely 213Bi is suitable as isotope for the radioimmunotherapy with α-emitters. As indications there are described in particular cancer treatment and the treatment of micrometastases of malign tumors using tumor-specific monoclonal antibodies as carriers for α-emitters.

A further study of KASPERSEN, F. M., BOS, E., DOORNMALEN, A. V., GEERLINGS, M. W., APOSTOLIDIS, C. and MOLINET, R. (1995): Nuclear Medicine Communications, 16, 468-476: “Cytotoxicity of 213Bi- and 225Ac-immunoconjugates” confirms and quantifies the cytotoxic effect of 213Bi and 225Ac with in vitro tests using the human epidermoid tumor cell line A431.

Moreover, it is suggested to use 213Bi for the treatment of malignant diseases of the blood system.

Further, in KASPERSEN et al. 1995 a process can be found with which antibodies can be bound chemically to a chelator suitable for 213Bi and 225Ac. It has proved that for example p-isothiocyanatobenzyl-diethylenetriamine-pentaacetate (benzyl-DTPA) is particularly suitable.

Another chelator, namely Cyclohexyl-DTPA is, for example, described in NIKULA, T. K., McDEVITT, M. R., FINN, R. D., WU, C., KOZAK, R. W., GARMESTANI, K., BRECHBIEL, M. W., CURCIO, M. J., PIPPIN, C. G., TIFFANY-JONES, L., GEERLINGS, M. W., Sr., APOSTOLIDIS, C., MOLINET, R., GEERLINGS, M. W., Jr., GANSOW, O. A. AND SCHEINBERG, D. A. (1999): J Nucl Med, 40, 166-176: “Alpha-Emitting Bismuth Cyclohexylbenzyl DTPA Constructs of Recombinant Humanized Anti-CD33 Antibodies: Pharmacokinetics, Bioactivity, Toxicity and Chemistry”.

An overview over chelator chemistry can be found for example in HASSFJELL, S. and BRECHBIEL, W. (2001): Chem. Rev., 101, 2019-2036: “The Development of the α-Particle Emitting Radionuclides 212Bi and 213Bi, and Their Decay Chain Related Radionuclides, For Therapeutic Applications”

In the meantime, various radioimmunotherapeutic approaches with 225Ac and 213Bi for the treatment of cancer are in various phases of clinical trials.

The medical-clinical significance of the present invention may be seen for example from two promising therapeutic approaches:

On the one hand, JURCIC, J. G., LARSON, S. M., SGOUROS, G., McDEVITT, M. R., FINN, R. D., DIVGI, C. R. Áse, M. B, HAMACHER, K. A, DANGSHE, M., HUMM, J. L., BRECHBIEL, M. W., MOLINET, R., SCHEINBERG, D. A. (2002) in Blood, 100, 1233-1239 report a significant success in the treatment of patients with acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML) and chronic myelogenous leukaemia (CML) by using 213Bi, which is bound to HuM195, a formulation of a monoclonal anti-CD33-antibody, which was developed for the humane medicine. This study was the first proof-of-concept where a human being was treated with a systemic radioimmunotherapy comprising an α-emitter, which is transported to a tumor specific cellular target.

On the other hand, HUBER, R., SEIDL, C., SCHMID, E, SEIDENSCHWANG, S., BECKER; K.-F., SCHUMACHER; C., APOSTOLIDIS, C., NIKULA, T., KREMMER, E., SCHWAIGER, M. and SENEKOWITSCH-SCHMIDTKE, R. (2003): Clinical Cancer Research (Suppl.) 9, 1s-6s: “Locoregional α-Radioimmunotherapy of Intraperitoneal Tumor Cell Dissemination Using a Tumor-specific Monoclonal Antibody” report the therapeutic effectivity of 213Bi-d9MAB—with low bone marrow toxicity—and the possible application of a locoregional therapy for patients who suffer from gastric carcinoma, who express d9-E-Cadherine.

More results of studies and partial aspects in this matter are shown in: Roswitha HUBER, doctorate dissertation in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine submitted to the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Jul. 18, 2003: “Bewertung der lokoregionalen Radioimmuntherapie disseminierter Tumorzellen des diffusen Magenkarzinoms mit einem 213Bi gekoppelten tumorspezifischen Antikörper im Mausmodell” (Evaluation of a locoregional radioimmunotherapy of disseminated tumor cells of the diffuse gastric carcinoma with a 213Bi bound tumor specific antibody in the mouse model).

This dissertation was originated from Nuklearmedizinische Klinik and Poliklinik of the Technical University of Munich, the University hospital “Klinikum rechts der Isar”, dean: Prof. Dr. M. Schwaiger. The dissertation was prepared under the supervision of Prof. Dr. med. Dr. Phil. Reingard Senekowitsch-Schmidtke and was presented to the veterinary faculty via Prof. Dr. med. vet. K. Tempel, Institute for Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, director: Prof. Dr. med. vet. R. Schulz.

According to HUBER 2003, each year 18 out of 100 000 Germans come down with gastric carcinoma alone. In Japan, even 126 out of 100 000 people are affected. This means about 156 000 incidences per year in Japan alone. There, as well as in China, Taiwan and Korea, gastric carcinoma is one of the most frequent causes of death in consequence of a tumor. When a peritoneal carcinomatosis, the consequence of diffuse expansion of tumor cells in the abdominal cavity, is diagnosed, the life expectancy of a patient is at present about 12 months. Even with resectable gastric carcinoma, this means with carcinoma, which have not yet disseminated and with negative diagnostic findings with respect to lymph nodes, the relapse-free three-year-survival-rate is at about 45%, only.

Up to now the application of cytostatica within a chemotherapy seemed to be the most promising therapeutic way.

However, the side effects range from immunosuppression, coagulopathy, metabolic anoxia, mucositis and hyperuricaemia to the danger of cytostatica induced secondary tumors. Particularly affected is here quickly proliferating tissue as bone marrow and the epithelium of the gastrointestinal tract as well as of the oral mucosa.

The radioimmunotherapy, in contrast, uses protein structures located on the membrane, that are expressed by tumor cell lines in order to bind cytotoxic active substances via a carrier. Mostly, an overexpression of the binding molecule at the tumor cell is central to a radioimmunotherapy. The target molecule for the tumor associated antibodies is thus also expressed to a lower extend in physiologic cells of the organism. This implies that any therapeutic agent for radiotherapy also binds to these cells.

Particularly, in the treatment of acute or chronic myelogenous leukaemia the meaning of the present invention takes effect, namely for the preparation of a suitable α-emitter, namely 225Ac which forms through decay reaction the bound, for example, to a tumor specific antibody.

The 213Bi atom decays via β-decay to 213Po, which releases its α-decay energy of 8.4 MeV with a half life of 4 μs in the tissue within a distance of 80 μm when decaying and thus kills effectively cells in its immediate neighborhood due to its high linear energy transfer.

The so called locoregional application enables a quick binding of 213Bi bound tumor specific antibody to the tumor antigenes with maximal therapeutic success and minimal toxicity.

Not before the late 80s was the α-emitting nuclide pair 213Bi/213Po was discovered for radioimmunotherapy. However, in the standard textbook of Schicha and Schober, 1997 “Nuklearmedizin—Basiswissen und klinische Anwendung” (nuclear medicine—basic knowledge and clinical application) it can be read: “The linear energy transfer of α-rays is so big that the likeliness for the creation of irradiation damages is bigger than a therapeutic effect. For this reason, nuclides, which release α-rays, are not applied in the nuclear medicine . . . ”. (“Der lineare Energietransfer ist bei α-Strahlen so groβ, daβ die Wahrscheinlichkeit für die Erzeugung von Strahlenschäden gröβer ist als ein therapeutischer Effekt. Aus diesem Grunde werden Nuklide, die α-Strahlen emittieren, in der Nuklearmedizin . . . nicht eingesetzt.”)

However, in the clinical application of such α-emitters in combination with tumor specific antibodies, exactly the opposite has proved to be true (cf. JURCIC et al. 2002). Consequently, the question arose which isotope it was best to use and how it could be prepared reliably and continuously.

Most of the over hundred available α-emitters can already be excluded from in vivo application for practical reasons (cf. GEERLINGS 1993). These α-emitters have to meet requirements like sufficient chemical and physical purity, economic availability and an adequate half-life. The latter has to be long enough for binding to the antibodies and for the biologic allocation and has to be short enough so that the patient is not put at an unnecessary risk due to excessive exposition to the rays.

One of the few α-emitter which fulfil these criteria is the nuclide pair 213Bi/213Po with a half-life of 45.6 min (213Bi). The photon emission of 213Bi with 440 KeV additionally permits an in vivo scintiscanning of the patient as well as an easy measurement of the activity using an α-ray counter.

Moreover, in radiation protection it is important that the radiation can be detected easily. Furthermore, also traces of further daughter nuclides of 225Ac/213Bi as for example 221Fr or 209Pb can be determined by new methods of measurement and can also be included into the dosimetry alongside the quality control.

In the meantime, 213Bi has become available via the production of 225Ac, for example according to EP 0 752 709 B1 and EP 0 962 942 A1 and particularly via the so called “thorium cow” according to U.S. Pat. No. 5,355,394. However, the production via the above-mentioned “thorium cow” is very expensive, as it derives from a neutron irradiation of 226Ra over several years, whereby finally among others an isotope mixture of 228Th and 229Th is assembled, whereby 229Th again decays via 225Ra into 225Ac, which decays to 213Bi.

Thus, the mother-daughter nuclide pair 225Ac/213Bi is available in principle, however, neither in an adequate quantity and continuously nor at an acceptable price, however—as mentioned initially—first clinical studies with 225Ac/213Bi conjugated to HuM195, a humanized anti-CD33 monoclonal antibody are very successful against myeloid leukaemia. The first clinical phase I trials with 213Bi-HuM195 were carried out with excellent therapeutic results at leukaemia patients at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York (JURICIC et al. 2002).

In cyclotrons, developed for the first time 1931, electrically charged particles are moving on spiral shaped orbits in magnetic flux lines.

In particular, protons can be accelerated with the help of a cyclotron with currents that are high enough to such high velocities that they can be used in experimental and applied nuclear physics for the production of isotopes in a quantitative scale.

EP 0 752 709 B1 describes, for example, a method for producing Actinium-225 from Radium-226, whereby accelerated protons are projected in a cyclotron onto a target of radium-226, characterized in that protons accelerated in a cyclotron are projected onto a target of radium-226 in a cyclotron, so that the instable compound nucleus 227Ac is transformed into Actinium-225 while emitting two neutrons (p,2n-reaction), whereby after a waiting period, during which the Actinium-226, which has been created simultaneously due to the emission of only one neutron, decays mostly due to its considerably shorter half-life and Actinium is chemically separated, so that a relatively pure isotope Ac-225 is obtained.

Nevertheless, the final product contains unconverted 226Ra and other Ra isotopes. In addition, different decay products of Actinium occur as well as nuclear conversions of contaminating elements of the Al.

Particularly important is to minimize the content of Sr and Ba which lead to the production of radioisotopes of Y and La, respectively.

Several radioisotopes are produced as a result of nuclear reactions type (p,n) or (p,2n) on main impurities like Ba, Fe, Zn, Sr, Pt, V, Ti, Cr and Cu which are present in the Al carrier (foil, mesh) and/or in the Ra deposit. The radionuclides of major contribution to the total gamma activity excluding 226Ra and daughters are typically the following: 135La, 55Co, 56Co, 67Ga, 57Ni, 135mBa, 133mBa, 131Ba, 129Cs, 51Cr, 48V, 52Mn, 54Mn, 65Zn.

In addition, disturbing radiochemical impurities are 210Po and 210Pb resulting from the following decay chain: Ra-226 (alpha)→Rn-222(alpha)→Po-218 (alpha)→Pb-214 (beta)→Bi-214 (beta)→Po-214 (alpha)→Pb-210 (beta)→Bi-210 (beta)→Po-210 (alpha)→Pb-206 (stable).

The 226Ra target used according to the procedure of EP 0 752 709 B1 is not specified in detail there.

EP 0 962 942 A1 also describes a method for producing Ac-225 by irradiation of 226Ra with cyclotron accelerated protons having an energy of 10 to 20 MeV.

According to the prior art of EP 0 962 942 A1, the target nuclide 226Ra is used in the form of RaCl2, which can be obtained for example by precipitation with concentrated HCl or radiumcarbonate (RaCO3). These radium substances are then pressed into target pellets. Prior to irradiation of the radium salts with protons, the pellets are heated to about 150° C. in order to release crystal water and are then sealed in a silver capsule. The capsule is then mounted on a frame-like support and connected to a water cooling circuit. The target itself exhibits a window, which is arranged in a way that the proton beam hits the target through the window. According to EP 0 962 942 A1, the target exhibits a surface of about 1 cm2.

Although it is already possible to achieve good Actinium-225-yields with the targets according to EP 0 962 942 A1, it has turned out in practice that this target construction can heat itself under certain conditions due to the proton beam in such a way that the silver capsule tears open and might thus both destroy the target and contaminate the peripheral compounds.

In order to solve these target problems, the inventors of the present inventions have designed two different improved radium targets for the production of radionuclides by means of accelerated protons, on the basis of the prior art of EP 0 962 942 A1.

The one target preparation, a method of electrodeposition of 226Ra-material is disclosed in Applicant's DE 103 47 459 B3, the other one, an evaporation-dispensing system, is disclosed in Applicant's DE 10 2004 022 200 A1. Both application papers are herewith incorporated by reference in their entirety.

Applicant's methods of target preparation provide the finally desired 225Ac-product on an Aluminium surface, and in a mixture of different radionuclides.

Preferably, Al-mesh targets can be used as carrier of Ra in the targets.

Al-mesh targets have an advantage in the achieved yield during electrodeposition. With the introduction of the Al-mesh disc as cathode in the electrodeposition process and as carrier of Ra in the target, the amount of Ra that can be deposited per disc could be increased. While, e.g. on an Al-foil disc the amount of Ra (experiments conducted at mg levels with Ba and at microgram levels with Ra-226) deposited was below 10 mg (2-3 mm at the edges of one disc), in the case of the mesh disc, the amount of Ra was to approximately 70 mg (depending on the thickness of the deposit and other parameters, thicker deposits were not well adhered to the mesh anymore). Consequently the number of Ra/Al mesh discs that need to be introduced into the target cup was reduced to five or six instead of 10 or more as it was required by the use of Al-foil discs. The better yield of electrodeposition on Al mesh compared with the yield of Al foil is associated with the higher surface of the mesh. The fact that more Ra is electrodeposited on the Al also assures that the proton beam is hitting with higher probability the Ra and not much loss occurs in Al.

The improvement by using an Al-mesh also facilitated the automation of the process.

Preferably, a 99% pure Al provided by Good Fellow is used. The neutron activation results carried out on the mesh at the Institute are reported below:

    • Impurities in the Al mesh measured by ko-INAA are given in Table 1

TABLE 1
Content
Element[μg/g]
Fe1302
Cr701
Ni0.2
Ga145
Zn39
Na9
Mo3.5
U1.3
Co2.0
Ce1.8
La0.69
W0.2
Sb0.07
Th0.18
Br0.11
Sm0.08
As0.06
Sc0.02
Au0.002

As in the case of the Al-foil targets, the results from processing hundreds microCi of Ra/Al-mesh discs targets indicated that the selective leaching of Ra and Ac from the Al mesh (developed for the Al disc target) can be also performed. Already during the dissolution of the target it is possible to separate most of the Al and impurities from the Ac.

A special advantage of the radium targets as described in DE 103 47 459 B3 and DE 10 2004 022 200 A1 is that they exhibit basically pure radium material in their radium containing coating. Hereby it is achieved that the targets are free of carriers or diluents, for example barium salts, which had to be added to the conventional radium targets of the prior art, in order to homogenize the radium-containing material. Due to the possibility to be able to work without such carrier materials as barium compounds, the chemical separation and purification of the created 225Ac becomes substantially more simple and the yields of irradiation are optimized, as competitive nuclear reactions, as for example those from barium nuclei, are not possible.

To summarize, however, despite the already optimized target systems as provided by Applicant's DE 103 47 459 B3 and DE 10 2004 022 200 A1, the final 225Ac-product still contains significant amounts of inorganic, radionuclide and organochemical impurities, which render the obtained 225Ac product unsuitable for direct medical or pharmaceutical application.

In other words, the achieved product cannot be used immediately to prepare a pharmaceutical grade 225Ac-product for the manufacture of the radiopharmaceutical agents described in the introductory part of the present specification for cancer therapy.

As a result, it is the object of the present invention to provide a purified and pharmaceutically acceptable 225Ac-containing radionuclide composition for further processing in the manufacture of 225Ac-containing therapeutic agents.

With respect to a method, the above object is independently achieved by the characterising features of claims 1, 2, and 3.

A pharmaceutically acceptable 225Ac-containing radionuclide composition in accordance with claim 21 also solves the above problem.

    • In particular, the present invention suggests a method for purification of 225Ac from irradiated 226Ra-targets provided on a support, comprising the following steps:
      • a) at least one leaching treatment of the 226Ra-targets for leaching essentially the entirety of 225Ac and 226Ra with nitric or hydrochloric acid under refluxing conditions;
      • b) removing HCl if the solvent in step b) is hydrochloric acid and redissolving the resulting material in nitric acid;
      • c) concentrating the 225Ac and 226Ra containing extracts;
      • d) separating 225Ac from 226Ra and other Ra-isotopes by means of at least one first extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a first extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula I in at least one compound in accordance with general formula II,

    • wherein in formula I:
    • R1, R2 independently is octyl, n-octyl, phenyl, or phenyl substituted with C1 to C3 alkyl;
    • R3, R4 independently is propyl, isopropyl, butyl, or isobutyl;
    • wherein in formula II:
    • R5, R6, and R7 independently is C2-C5 alkyl, in particular, butyl, or isobutyl;
      • e) eluting 225Ac which is retained on the solid support from the stationary phase with diluted nitric or hydrochloric acid, whereas 226Ra is passing through;
      • f) separating 225Ac from 210Po and 210Pb by means of at least one second extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a second extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula III in at least one compound in accordance with general formula IV,

wherein in formula III:
R8 and R9 independently is H, C1-C6 alkyl, or t-butyl; and
wherein in formula IV:

    • R10 is C4 to C12 alkyl;
      • g) using 2M HCl as mobile phase; and
      • h) recovering 225Ac from the flow-through, whereas 210Po and 210Pb are retained on the solid support.
    • Alternatively, the method of the present invention for purification of 225Ac from irradiated 226Ra-targets provided on a support, comprises the following steps:
      • a) at least one leaching treatment of the 226Ra-targets for leaching essentially the entirety of 225Ac and 226Ra with nitric or hydrochloric acid under refluxing conditions;
      • b) removing HCl if the solvent in step b) is hydrochloric acid and redissolving the resulting material in nitric acid;
      • c) concentrating the 225Ac and 226Ra containing extracts;
      • d) separating 225Ac from 226Ra and other Ra-isotopes by means of at least one first extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a first extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula IA,

    • wherein in formula IA:
    • R1a, R2a, R3a, R4a independently is octyl or 2-ethylhexyl;
      • e) eluting 225Ac which is retained on the solid support from the stationary phase with nitric acid within a concentration range of 0.3 M to 0.01 M or 1 M to 0.05 M hydrochloric acid, whereas 226Ra is passing through;
      • f) separating 225Ac from 210Po and 210Pb by means of at least one second extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a second extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula III in at least one compound in accordance with general formula IV,

        • wherein in formula III:
        • R8 and R9 independently is H, C1-C6 alkyl, or t-butyl; and
        • wherein in formula IV:
        • R10 is C4 to C12 alkyl;
      • g) using 2M HCl as mobile phase; and
      • h) recovering 225Ac from the flow-through, whereas 210Po and 210Pb are retained on the solid support.
    • A further alternative method for purification of 225Ac from irradiated 226Ra-targets provided on a support, comprises the following steps:
      • a) at least one leaching treatment of the 226Ra-targets for leaching essentially the entirety of 225Ac and 226Ra with nitric or hydrochloric acid under refluxing conditions;
      • b) removing HCl if the solvent in step b) is hydrochloric acid and redissolving the resulting material in nitric acid;
      • c) concentrating the 225Ac and 226Ra containing extracts;
      • d) separating 225Ac from 226Ra and other Ra-isotopes by means of at least one first extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a first extractant system coated thereon, comprising a compound in accordance with formula IB,

      • e) eluting 225Ac which is retained on the solid support from the stationary phase with nitric acid having a concentration lower than appr. 0.1 M and higher then appr. 0.02 M, whereas 226Ra is passing through;
      • f) separating 225Ac from 210Po and 210Pb by means of at least one second extraction chromatography with a solid support material having a second extractant system coated thereon, comprising at least one compound in accordance with general formula III in at least one compound in accordance with general formula IV,

        • wherein in formula III:
        • R8 and R9 independently is H, C1-C6 alkyl, or t-butyl; and
        • wherein in formula IV:
        • R10 is C4 to C12 alkyl;
      • g) using 2M HCl as mobile phase; and
      • h) recovering 225Ac from the flow-through, whereas 210Po and 210Pb are retained on the solid support.

In a preferred method according to the invention, said nitric acid in step a) has a concentration range of appr. 0.001 M to 2 M, preferably appr. 0.1 M and said hydrochloric acid has a concentration range of 0.001 M to 2 M, and/or said acids are used at elevated temperatures, in particular, from appr. 30 to 90° C.

Preferably, extracts from the leaching treatment are pooled and used for further processing.

In concentration step c), typically, a final concentration of 1.5 M to 10 M of nitric acid is achieved.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the first extractant system is octyl(phenyl)-N,N-diisobutylcarbamoylphosphine oxide [CMPO] in tributyl phosphate [TBP].

The second extractant system can be very efficiently a crown ether in accordance with formula V:

Preferably, the crown ether of Formula V is used in 1-octanol.

In a particularly preferred method of the invention, the second extractant system is 4,4′-bis(t-butylcyclohexano)-18-crown-6 in 1-octanol.

An alternative second extractant system is 4,5′-bis(t-butylcyclohexano)-18-crown-6 in 1-octanol.

In order to improve the final purification method, the first extraction chromatography of step d) can be repeated several times, in order to remove trace amounts of Ra-isotopes, depending on the desired purity of the 225Ac.

In an analogues manner, the second extraction chromatography of step f) can be repeated several times, depending on the desired purity of the 225Ac.

In a case of need, the first and the second extraction chromatography steps can be repeated several times fpr higher purification grades.

In the method according to the present invention, it is preferred to remove Radon which is contained in the Al-support and/or in the converted products from the 225Ac products and the Al-support during the leaching process by means of suitable traps.

Radon removing can be achieved for example easily by guiding Rn into a first alkaline trap to neutralize acidic vapors, into a subsequent silica trap to absorb water, and into a final activated coal trap, wherein the activated coal trap is optionally cooled.

Due to its value and hazardous potential, not converted 226Ra starting material is recovered from the flow-through of step e).

210Po and 210Pb impurities are eluted from the solid support of the second extraction chromatography in step h) by means of concentrated nitric acid or hydrochloric acid.

In the present method of the invention, each purification step and/or fraction is preferably checked by means of α- and/or γ-spectroscopy.

Respective fractions containing:

    • a. 225Ac; or
    • b. Ra-isotopes; or
    • c. 210Po; and
    • d. 210Pb
      are evaporated to wet or dry residues and redissolved, if necessary.

For removing organochemical impurities, it is preferred to pass the prepurified 225Ac solutions through a resin filter which contains a non-ionic acrylic ester polymer.

The final product as obtainable with the method of the present invention is a pharmaceutically acceptable 225Ac-containing radionuclide composition which can be used to prepare 225Ac-bearing radiopharmaceuticals as disclosed in the introductory part of the present specification.

The present invention further comprises all combinations of all disclosed single features together, independent from their AND- or OR-linkage.

Further advantages and features can be seen from the description of examples and the drawings.

FIG. 1. shows a general scheme for the extraction of 225Ac from 226Ra/Al irradiated targets;

FIG. 2a. shows a γ-spectrum of the 226Ra-fraction after first Ra/Ac separation with the RE Resin;

FIG. 2b. shows a γ-spectrum of the purified 225Ac-fraction;

FIG. 3a. shows a γ-spectrum of 225Ac prior to Po and Pb purification; and

FIG. 3b. shows a γ-spectrum of 225Ac after Po and Pb purification.

1. Preparation of Purified 226Ra Material for Target Preparation

A Ra batch sealed 226Ra source is pre-checked by γ-spectrometry, ampoule is broken. The Ra salts or compounds are dissolved and the solution is separated from glass by filtration. The filter and glass particles are leached out with 0.5 M HNO3 and pooled with 226Ra-containing liquid. This solution is subjected to an at least one extraction chromatography step, which results in a purified Ra fraction.

The latter fraction is used—after a further concentration step—for preparing the 226Ra targets.

Further details of 226Ra purification for cyclotron target preparation for 225Ac manufacture are described in the not prepublished DE 102005043012, filed on 9 Sep. 2005. The disclosure of this patent application is herewith incorporated by reference in its entirety.

2. Preparation of a 226Ra Target by Electrodeposition by Means of a Fixed Aluminium Disc as Cathode

The present invention will be illustrated by way of an example of a target preparation by means of an electrodeposition according to DE 103 47 459 B3, “Radium-Target sowie Verfahren zu seiner Herstellung”.

The person having average skill in the art will understand that the invention also works in targets prepared by the evaporation method in accordance with DE 10 2004 022 200 A1 “Method for producing 226Ra targets by the droplet-evaporation methods for irradiation in the cyclotron”.

For the preparation of a 226Ra target, aluminium discs with a thickness of 0.015 mm and a diameter of about 5 cm with a minimal 99% purity of the aluminium are punched out and fixed on a stainless steel support. The support facilitates the handling of the aluminium foils and is removed after the electrodeposition itself, before the positioning of the radium-coated foil in the target itself.

For the electrodeposition on the aluminium foil, a solution of a radium-226-nitrate is used, whereby in particular 226-radium chloride or 226-radium carbonate are absorbed beforehand for the transformation into the corresponding nitrate in about 0.05 M HNO3.

Subsequently, the stainless steel support, on which the aluminium foil is fixed, is weighted and the net weight of the aluminium foil is determined.

150 ml (for electrodeposition on aluminium foils with a diameter of up to 15 cm) or 10 to 11 ml isopropanol are added into an electrodeposition cell (for aluminium foil discs with a diameter up to 2 cm).

Then the required amount of radium-226 solution is filled into the electrolytic cell and 1-2 ml 0.05 M HNO3 are added. The total volume of the radium solution and 0.05 M HNO3 should not exceed about 2 ml, if aluminium foil discs with a diameter of up to 2 cm are used, and 20 ml at the most, if aluminium foil discs with a diameter of up to 15 cm are used. When high radium concentrations are used, a white precipitates may be formed. If this happens, 0.05 MHNO3 is further added until the precipitation has dissolved. The pH value of the depositing plating solution should preferably be between 4 and 5.

For the electrodeposition of 226Ra containing material out of the plating solution the electric current is adjusted to about 60 mA and a voltage of about 200V is applied, monitored for a few minutes and, if necessary, readjusted.

After the electrodeposition of the 226Ra solution has been completed, the plating solution is poured out, the support is rinsed with 2 to 3 ml isopropanol and the cell is disassembled and the aluminium foil is additionally rinsed with about 1 to 2 ml isopropanol.

Afterwards, the support with the 226Ra coated aluminium foil arranged on it is dried under an infrared lamp until the weight remains constant, in order to render the radium-containing coating anhydrous.

Afterwards, the stainless steel support with the fixed, coated aluminium foil is weighted and the net mass of the coated aluminium foil is determined. Then the yield is determined from the weighted mass of the 226 Ra containing layer.

An alternative way to monitor the yield of the electrodeposition—instead of weighing—is to measure the γ-activity of 226Ra by means of a high resolution γ-spectrometer.

Subsequently, the stainless steel support and the aluminium foil are separated from each other.

The dry aluminium foil coated with radium compounds is carefully covered with a new aluminium foil and the edges of the aluminium foil with which the Aluminium foil carrying the active layer is fixed are cut off, in order to minimize the amount of aluminium in the target itself.

For the use as radium target in the proton beam of a cyclotron, a pile of the of the circular disc shaped aluminium foils prepared according to present examples, which are coated with radium-containing material in a ring shaped manner, are piled in a so called target cup.

For the production of a folded radium target, one or more aluminium foils, in the case of this example, coated on one whole surface with 226Ra are covered in a way with another aluminium foil that the radium containing film is covered entirely. Then, the aluminium foil is folded several times until stripes of about 2 mm are obtained. The folded aluminium foil, which contains the layers of radium-containing material, in particular radium oxides, is then placed into the target for proton irradiation in the cyclotron or in the linear accelerator.

With the above methods according to DE 103 47 459 B3 and DE 10 2004 022 200 A1, it is possible to obtain highly potent 226Ra targets on aluminium foil of a different thickness with different 226Ra-amounts.

This method assures in particular to deposit films that are highly homogenous on the aluminium-226Ra target. This is particularly important for the irradiation of the target in the cyclotron, as the atomic nuclei of radium are thereby exposed homogenously to the proton flux.

The use of aluminium as substrate for 226Ra offers various advantages for the irradiation in a cyclotron and the subsequent radiochemical processing of the irradiated target. The advantages of the aluminium lie in the nuclear physical and chemical properties of the aluminium:

Nuclear properties: Aluminium has just one single stable isotope. The activation products formed from the aluminium are very short-lived. The formation of only short lived radionuclides on aluminium facilitates the radiochemical purification of Ac-225 and reduces the cooling time of the target after irradiation. As the loss of energy of protons in aluminium is very low, it is possible to use several thin films of aluminium without substantial reduction of the proton energy.

Physical properties: Aluminium is a light metal with good thermal and electrical conductivity. It is easy to handle and can be adapted easily to the required geometry.

Chemical properties: Aluminum can easily be dissolved in mineral acids and it can be easily separated from the resulting Actinium. Aluminum foils are available with a high degree of chemical purity and at reasonable prices.

The deposition of 226Ra, e.g. as oxide or peroxide, allows to obtain a layer with a high content of radium, in particular about 70% of the deposited material per cm2. The electrodeposition yield is high.

In practice it has turned out that about 4 to 5 g/cm2 226Ra with good adhesive properties can be deposited on the aluminum foil.

3. Purification of 225Ac Produced by 226Ra Cyclotron Irradiation with Protons

A. Selective Leaching of Ac and Ra from Irradiated Ra/Al Targets Prepared by the Electrodeposition Technique

After the irradiation at the cyclotron, the target containing Ac and Ra is transferred to a shielded glove box and positioned in the disassembling and dissolution position. For leaching Ra and Ac from the irradiated Al discs or rings, a refluxing/distillation arrangement is used. This set up enables the condensation of hot water and acids vapours and their continuous reflux into the dissolution vessel and the collection of condensates when this is required. Using this arrangement any Rn which could be still present in the irradiated Al discs can be trapped in a series of traps. The traps are assembled in the following sequence: a NaOH bath to neutralize acid vapors, a silicagel trap to absorb water vapours and finally an activated cooled-coal trap to capture Rn.

The arrangement used for leaching Ra and Ac from irradiated disc targets is a Refluxing/Destillation arrangement. Typically, the discs or rings are inserted in the flask and they are treated first with 30 ml hot 0.1-0.2 M HNO3 and then with 30 ml boiling 2M HNO3 or HCl. The leaching processes are repeated two-three times to wash out any remaining activities of Ra or Ac attached to the discs or to the walls of the glass vessel. The leaching solutions are first subjected to gamma-spectrometry and then combined if required.

As a result of the leaching process at least two fractions are obtained: the first one contained the Ac, the Ra and part of the activation products (0.1-0.2 M HNO3) and the second contained most of the matrix (Al) and part of the activation products (2M HNO3 or concentrated HCl). The 0.1-0.2 M HNO3 fraction is taken for the Ac extraction process. This solution is converted to 2M HNO3, during this conversion any particles which can be suspended in solution should be dissolved. The volume of this fraction is generally set to 30 ml.

The results indicate that more than 99% of Ac and Ra is contained in this fraction. Only trace amounts of Ac and Ra are found in the second leaching solution of 2M HNO3 which contains most of the Al from the Al discs. The activation products are found almost equally distributed between these two leaching fractions. This procedure facilitates the purification and recycling of Ra because both Ac and Ra are extracted from the foil or mesh without the total dissolution of the Al. In addition, the lower beta and gamma activity associated with activation products in the Ac/Ra leaching solution reduces the risk of radiation damage of the used resins, in particular RE resin.

B. Selective Leaching of Ac and Ra from Irradiated Ra Targets Prepared by the Droplet-Evaporation Technique

The Ra and Ac are removed from the irradiated Al cup by washing it with a 0.1M HNO3 solution in an ultrasonic bath. After irradiation at the cyclotron and target disassembling in a shielded glove box; the Al target-cup which carries high radiation dose is transferred and placed into a 250 ml glass beaker (chosen for this specific target cup). This beaker is inserted in an ultrasonic bath. Once the target is inside the beaker or container, 100 mL 0.1M HNO3 are added into the Al-cup. This volume of 100 ml was selected to completely immerse the target into the leaching solution (the volume depends on the geometry and size of the target cup). The ultrasonic bath is then activated and the temperature of the water bath is kept at approximately 80 C during the process. The leaching process with the ultrasonic bath is conducted two times for short time (not more than 20-30 minutes). All liquid fractions containing the Ra and Ac are combined in a glass beaker and evaporated to wet residues. Experiments with Ba nitrate has previously indicated that Ba at these conditions (setup, leaching volume, duration of US bath) is completely removed. The experiments with Ba also demonstrate that some particulate material associated with Al oxide is released from the target cup. Consequently before starting the separation process, this particulate fraction has to be dissolved either in hot 2M HNO3 or, if necessary, in 6M HCl and then converted to 2M HNO3. This solution is taken for the radiochemical separation. The recovery of Ra and Ac from the irradiated target by using this technique is always higher that 90%.

Studies are being currently carried out to minimize the volume of 0.1 M HNO3 solution needed to quantitatively recover the Ra and Ac from the target cup with a high chemical purity. These studies are conducted using also a new target design. Using this target we will be able to leach out the Ac and Ra from the target cup without the need of disassembling it. The chemical purity of the leaching solution will define the complexity of the Ra recycling and purification process and therefore, it is important to obtain a chemical pure Ra solution already at this stage.

C. Separation of Ac from Ra and Most of the Activation Products by Extraction Chromatography Using the Re Resin as a First Extractant System

The Ac/Ra separation is based on the use of the extraction chromatography resin RE Resin (EiChrom). In the RE resin, the stationary phase consist of octyl(phenyl)-N,N-diisobutylcarbamoylphosphine oxide in tributylphosphate. This extractant has the property to extract trivalent actinides and lanthanides from nitric acid solutions (e.g. 2M HNO3). The Ac can be eluted from the stationary phase by washing the column with diluted solutions of nitric or hydrochloric acid (e.g. 0.05M HNO3).

Background Information

The extraction of trivalent actinides especially transplutonium elements with bidentate organophosphorus compounds was extensively studied in the USA and the former USSR. In the USA, for example Horwitz et al. (1984, 1993) studied the extraction of Am and other elements with a great number of carbamoylphosphonates and carbamoylphosphine oxides. It was established that both kinds of extractants form trisolvates with lanthanides and trivalent actinides. The high extraction coefficient from nitric acid medium was explained by the bidentate coordination and cycle chromatography versions of the extraction system CMPO/TBP (e.g. TRU resin or RE resin, distributed by EICHROM). On both resins the tetravalent actinides show high retention from nitric acid solutions, having for example capacity factors (CF) in the range of 104-106 from 2-3 M HNO3 for the TRU Resin. In the same range of concentration, the CFs for lanthanides is in the order of 100 on the TRU Resin and between 100-200 on the RE Resin. For the RE, the CFs are higher for all relevant elements. The low retention of trivalent actinides from HCl and from diluted nitric acid solutions is the basis for their selective elution. According to Horwitz (1993); Ca, Fe (II) and commonly occurring polyatomic anions do not show significant effect on the Am retention from HNO3. Based on these properties, the TRU Resin has been applied for the separation of Am from Sr, Ca and Ba in environmental samples (e.g. Burnett et al., 1995; Moreno et al., 1997 and 1998). Burnett et al. (1995) applied the RE Resin in the combined determination of very small quantities of both 226Ra and 228Ra in environmental samples.

In an entirely novel approach, in the present invention, the inventors have used the RE Resin for the separation of Ac from 226Ra, Al and from most of the activation products produced at the cyclotron by selectively extracting the Ac from 2 M HNO3. Ac is eluted from the stationary phase using 0.03-0.05 M HNO3.

Separation of Ac from Ra, Al and Activation Products after the Irradiation of Ra/Al Targets at the Cyclotron

FIG. 1 shows the flow chart of processes used for the extraction of Ac from irradiated targets. The size of the columns used (8 ml-bed volume) is chosen to maximize the retention of Ac on the RE resin from a large volume of loading solution and consequently to reduce the breakthrough of Ac in the Ra fraction. Assuming that a maximum of 0.5 g Ra and 0.5 g (extreme conditions) of Al can be present in the leaching/loading 2 M HNO3 solution, a total volume of up to 70-80 ml is needed for the total dissolution of Ra and Al. The results from experiments conducted with synthetic solutions and also with irradiated targets (mg of Ra and hundreds μCi of 225Ac) indicate that under similar conditions, most of the Ra can be removed by washing the column with approximately 50 ml 2 M HNO3 without a significant breakthrough of Ac. Meanwhile, most of the Ac can be eluted with 50 ml 0.05 M HNO3. The typical decontamination factor Df (Ac/Ra) is found to be in the order of 104 (one stage).

D. Purification of the Ac

D1. From Tracer Quantities of Ra by Using a Repeated Extraction Chromatography Column with the Re Resin

After the separation of the bulk of Ra, Al and activation products; 210Po (FIG. 303a) and some small quantities of Ra and isotopes of transition elements still remain in the Ac fraction. Therefore, a second separation of Ac from these remaining impurities is necessary. As shown in FIG. 1, the purification process consists of two stages: the first is a repetition of the Ac/Ra separation using the RE resin to provide an additional decontamination of Ac from Ra. The experiments have shown that the total decontamination factor Ac/Ra is approximately 106-107 by repeating twice the Ac/Ra separation with the RE resin under the described conditions.

A further purification step enables the Ac/Po, Ac/Pb and Ac/Rn separation using a second extractant system, the Sr Resin (Eichrom) and this process is described below in section D2.

D2. From Po and Pb Isotopes by Using the Sr Resin as a Second Extractant System

Background Information

In the Sr Resin of the present example, the extractant in the stationary phase is a crown ether: 4,4′(5′)-bis(t-butylcyclohexaneno)-18-crown-6 in 1-octanol. Horwitz (1991, 1992) proposed this crown ether in 1-octanol to selectively extract Sr from concentrated nitric acid solutions. The extraction chromatography system is commercially available as Sr Resin (Eichrom) and has been applied to the determination of very low activities of 210Pb in environmental samples (Vajda et al.; 1995). Indeed, this resin has been also frequently used for the separation and purification of 90Sr from Ca, Mg and Ba in the radiochemical analysis of environmental samples (Vajda N. et al., 1992; Moreno et al. 1997 and 1998). In the present invention, the inventors have used the Sr Resin as second extractant system to purify Ac from Po, Pb and also Rn in 2 M HCl solutions: while Pb and Po are retained by the stationary phase from 2 M HCl, Ac passes through.

Separation of Ac from Po and Pb in the Purification Scheme

The presence of Po in the Ac (FIG. 3a) is observed on the alpha spectrum obtained from the Ac after the RE Resin separation. The presence of both Pb and Po in the Ac can be confirmed by measuring the gross alpha beta activity of aliquots taken from the Ac fraction. Without performing the purification with the Sr Resin, this parameter (gross alpha and beta activities) is much higher that the expected gross activity associated with the Ac and its decay products. Experiments carried out in dynamic conditions demonstrate that while Ac passed through the column, both Po and Pb were retained from 2M HCl acid. The 2M HCl fraction (loading and washing 2M HCl solutions) contained the Ac (FIG. 3b) while Po and Pb were retained by the stationary phase.

E. Final Purification and Pre-Concentration of the Purified Ac Fraction

Before proceeding with the final preconcentration step, the Ac fraction in 2M HCl acid from the Sr Resin is subject to quality control. At this stage, the radioisotopic purity is generally very high and it depends mainly on the presence of the short living 135La. Consequently the purity quickly increases within a few days after the end of production to more than 99.7%. The activity ratio 226Ra/225Ac (and also the activity ratio in relation to other long-lived isotopes) is checked and this ratio was usually below 5.10−4 in the Ac fraction.

    • If the conditions for radioisotopic purity were not fulfilled, then a further purification of Ac from Ra and other relevant components is required. For this purpose, the Ac fraction obtained after concentration of the 2 M HCl solution is subject to a fast purification from Ra using a 2 ml-bed volume column with the RE resin. Usually, there is also a need to purify the Ac from soluble or dispersed organic materials. To separate the organic material, the solution is passed through a pre-filter 2 ml-bed volume resin (Eichrom) which contains a non-ionic acrylic ester polymer. The results indicate that the content of soluble organics is decreased in one order of magnitude and all the Ac can be filtered through this resin without retention.

The results from the manual reprocessing of irradiated Ra/Al targets show that the recovery of Ac and Ra (excluding the recycling and further purification) are higher than 98% and 96% respectively. For processes conducted with 2- to 3 mg of Ra and hundreds μCi of 225Ac and using almost fully automated processes, the recovery factor of Ra is slightly lower but generally higher than 90-92%. This factor is intended to be increased by optimizing parameters associated with the automatic processes (e.g. liquid transfer, dead volumes, etc).

F. Radioisotopic Impurities Measured by γ-Spectrometry

The radioisotopic purity and the chemical purity of the Ac depend on the applied radiochemically procedures and also on the purity of the materials (mesh carrier, TC, etc) and reagents (Ra solution, acids, etc). Particularly important is to minimize the content of Sr and Ba which lead to the production of radioisotopes of Y and La respectively that behave similarly to Ac during the separation process.

As already mentioned in the introduction, several radioisotopes are produced as a result of nuclear reactions type (p,n) or (p,2n) on main impurities like Ba, Fe, Zn, Sr, Pt, V, Ti, Cr and Cu which are present in the Al carrier (foil, mesh) and/or in the Ra deposit. As an example, the γ-spectrum of a Ra fraction is shown in FIG. 2a. The radionuclides of major contribution to the total gamma activity excluding 226Ra and daughters were typically the following: 135La, 55Co, 56Co, 67Ga, 57Ni, 135mBa, 133mBa, 131Ba, 129Cs, 51Cr, 48V, 52Mn, 54 Mn, 65Zn. Except for RE isotopes, most of these radionuclides are separated from the Ac. The typical radioisotopic purity of the purified Ac fraction is higher than 99.8% (see Table 1). The γ-spectrometry measurements of the purified Ac fraction (FIG. 3b) showed the presence of small quantities of rare earth radioisotopes, namely 87Y, 88Y, 139Ce. Small quantities of 194Au were some times observed (Pt anode) when the target was prepared by electrodeposition (Pt anode).

Radioisotopic Impurities Measured by γ-Spectrometry

The γ-spectrometry results after radiochemical separation of Ra in the aliquot sample indicate that the combined decontamination factor of 225Ac in relation to 226Ra (Df) is 106-107. This factor can be significantly improved by optimizing relevant parameters associated with the purification process.

FIG. 3b shows the spectrum of the purified Ac extracted from an irradiated target. The spectrum clearly shows the peaks of 225Ac and decay products. No impurities of 210Po were observed which indicate that decontamination of 225Ac from 210Po is also very high by applying the described radiochemical scheme (see FIG. 3a).

The content of impurities will decrease by increasing a proper selection of high purity reagents and materials (e.g. Al foils/mesh of better purity). In addition, when Bi is eluted from the Ac/Bi generator, the rare earth radioisotopes Ce, Ln, Y, and any 226Ra will remain on the stationary phase along with Ac (Ac/Bi generator) thus providing additional purification of 213Bi.

TABLE 1
Radioisotopic impurities measured in a purified Ac fraction
from irradiated target (electrodeposition). Example
ActivityActivityRadioisotopic
RadionuclideActivity [Bq]ratio aI/aAcbratio aI, t/aAccpurity [%]
88Y4.661.57 × 10−44.1 × 10−499.96
139Ce7.822.64 × 10−4
226Ra0.4a 1.3 × 10−5
209Tl562
221Fr2.93 × 104
213Bi2.91 × 104
225Ac2.96 × 104

Except for 226Ra, all results were obtained by high resolution gamma-spectrometry

  • a α-spectrometry after radiochemical separation of Ra (two independent analyses)
  • b al/aAc impurity/actinium activity ratio
  • c al,t/aAc ratio of the activity of all impurities to the activity of 225Ac 55Co, 56Co, 57Co, 58Co, 67Ga, 194Au, 206Bi, 205Bi 51Cr, 87Y, 48V, 54Mn, 65Zn, 226Ra 214Pb and 214Bi were not detectable by γ-spectrometry.

Chemical Impurities Measured in the Purified Ac Fraction

The typical content of total inorganic impurities in the Ac purified fraction is generally below 100 μg. The following elements have been detected and quantified in the Ac fraction: Al, Ba, Ca, Cr, Cu, K, La, Mg, Mn, Na, P, Rb, Si, Sr, Ti, Zr, Zn and Zr.

Thus, with the method according to the invention a pharmaceutically acceptable 225Ac preparation can be obtained, and the 225Ac can be used for the preparation of nuclear drugs for treatment of cancer as described in the introductory part of the present specification.