DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy produces and sells many stable and radioactive isotopes that are widely used by domestic and international customers for medicine, industry and research. DOE also maintains the infrastructure required to support the national need for a reliable supply of isotope products, services and related technology. In the nuclear medicine field, it is estimated that one in every three people treated at a hospital makes use of a radioisotope in their laboratory tests, diagnoses or therapy. Isotopes have thus become key agents in the diagnosis and effective treatment of various cancers, heart disease and other medical problems. DOE programs ensure the availability of an adequate supply of medical and research isotopes, which is essential to the Nation’s health care system.
The Office of Science nuclear medicine program supports research into novel radiopharmaceuticals for medical research and studies of novel instrumentation for imaging of living systems for medical diagnosis. In the nuclear medicine program, universities conduct research into new types of radiopharmaceuticals, particularly those based on application of concepts from genomics and structural biology. The Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) places emphasis on radiopharmaceuticals that will be of use in advanced imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography. The research supports new instrumentation for medical imaging. The BER Measurement Science program supports research into novel types of biosensors for medical imaging and application in analytical chemistry of contaminated environments.