Radiation protection aspects for alpha therapies.
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The use of alpha emitting radiotherapeutics is increasing, with further growth expected due to a number of clinical trials currently running involving new alpha emitters. However, literature concerning radiation safety aspects of alpha emitting radionuclides is limited and most of the available literature concerns 223Ra. In general, the occupational exposure from alpha emitting radionuclides is expected to be low, as are doses to the public from external exposure. However, care must be taken to avoid skin contamination, inhalation, and ingestion. Not all alpha emitting radionuclides are identical, they often have very different associated decay chains and emissions. The decay chains and the manufacturing process should be carefully examined to identify any long-lived progeny or impurities. These may have an impact on the radiation safety processes required to limit occupational exposure and for waste management. Doses to the public must also be assessed, either arising directly from exposure to patients treated with radiotherapeutics, or via waste streams. Risk assessments should be in place when starting a new service covering all aspects of the preparation and administration, as well as any foreseeable incidents such as skin contamination or patient death, and the appropriate steps to take in these instances. It is imperative that with the increase in the use of alpha emitting radiotherapeutics more literature is published on radiation safety aspects, especially for new alpha emitting radiotherapeutics which often have very different characteristics than the currently established ones.
The Quarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging,
EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA