Thor Medical – production of alpha emitters for cancer treatment

May 2023
Scatec Innovation

Thor Medical AS is a producer and supplier of radionuclides, primarily alpha emitters, for cancer therapy. The production process requires no radiation and provides reliable, low cost supply of sought after α-particles.

The production process is based on a novel technology developed by Thor Medical’s sister company, REEtec AS. The process combines high efficiency and competitive cost structure with best in class environmentally friendliness.

"The production process requires no radiation and provides reliable, low cost supply of sought after α-particle"

Radionuclide Therapy

Radionuclide Therapy (RNT) utilizing α-particle emitters, is a promising technology for cancer treatment. Certain radionuclide treatments are already in use and several are under development. However, α-radioisotopes are in short supply. Current production schemes are dependent on irradiation which is expensive and complex for commercial scale production. Hence, at present only small volumes are produced. Thor Medical has developed and is piloting a novel, low cost and environmentally benign production technology for α-particle emitters, independent of nuclear reactors and proton accelerators.

Alpha emitters

An alpha particle is essentially a helium atom nucleus and generally carries more energy than gamma or beta radiation, depositing that energy very quickly while passing through tissue. They are highly tissue-destructive but travel only short distances (< 0,1 mm) and are blocked by a thick piece of paper or skin. The dense energy deposition and the short range make it possible to kill cancer cells and leave nearby healthy cells unharmed.

Alpha emitters could potentially provide effective treatment to cancers like:

  • leukemia
  • lymphomas
  • gliomas
  • melanoma
  • peritoneal carcinomatosis
  • others

There are only a few α-emitters which can be used for RNT, due to considerations of half-life, purity, conjugation to targeting molecules, radioactive decay products and availability.
Thor Medical has chosen to focus on Thorium-228 (Th-228) and Radium-224 (Ra-224) with its decay products Lead-212 (Pb-212) and Bismuth-212 (Bi-212). The variances in half-lives and decay properties between these open multiple possibilities to treat different cancers at different stages.

In developing the production technology and pilot the process, Thor Medical has been cooperating with the Institute for Energy Technology (IFE). At present, Thor Medical is about to estblish laboratories at the University of Oslo where Senior Scientist Sindre Hassfjell will be  heading the team of researchers.

For more information, please contact Sindre Hassfjell