The University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) recently shipped its first batch of a medical isotope used to diagnose and treat thyroid cancer, making it the first domestic source of Iodine-131 (I-131) in 30 years.
I-131 has only an eight-day half-life, making stockpiling impossible, and demand is expected to increase. Thyroid cancer is “the most rapidly increasing cancer in the U.S.,” with diagnoses tripling in the last three decades, according to the American Cancer Society. The National Cancer Institute expects 53,990 new cases of thyroid cancer in the U.S. in 2018 with an estimated 2,060 deaths from the disease.
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