Nuclear Technology and Health


Radiopharmaceuticals (radioactive medicines) are medicines used for examinations by gamma cameras or internal radiation for therapy. The radioactive drug will accumulate in target areas in the body. A gamma camera can detect and image distribution of the radioactivity in the body of the patient. The majority of radiopharmaceuticals are used for diagnostic examinations (detection of disease).

Harbø, Bente Tange

Research Director


Approximately 10 % of the radiopharmaceuticals are used for treatment of diseases, mainly pain relief for cancer patients. Development of new radiopharmaceuticals for curative treatment of cancer is a priority area for the pharmaceutical industry.

IFE has been working with radioactive materials for medical use for more than 50 years. In the early days this activity was strongly connected to the nuclear reactors (JEEP I and JEEP II). Today, the activity has two main areas, the control and distribution of radiopharmaceuticals to the Norwegian hospitals and the manufacturing of radiopharmaceuticals for clinical trials.

For diagnostic use, a short half life of the radio nuclide is important. The radio nuclides used in radiopharmaceuticals normally have half lives of a few hours or down to a few minutes. By the increasing number of PET-scanners (Positron Emission Tomography) available, new products with improved sensitivity and new indications are coming up. IFE is involved in the development / manufacturing of a PET-product, 68Ga-DOTATOC, together with Norwegian hospitals.