Maillinckrodt Medical Licenses Invention For Concentration Of Rhenium Radioisotopes

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Jan. 20, 1997 --Mallinckrodt Medical Inc. has licensed an invention from the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that could save more than 100,000 people from having additional heart surgery.

Of the 400,000 balloon angioplasty procedures that are performed annually in the United States, 30 percent of patients require additional surgery because their arteries clog up again, but the use of a special radioactive isotope -- rhenium-188 -- prevents this arterial blockage from forming.

Rhenium 188 is available from the tungsten-188/rhenium-188 generator developed in the ORNL Nuclear Medicine program.

Although a variety of pharmacological approaches are being explored to inhibit restenosis after balloon angioplasty, ionizing radiation has been found to be one of the only non-surgical and easily performed procedures which is effective. This can be accomplished using the technology developed at ORNL and licensed to Mallinckrodt.

A highly concentrated form of rhenium is needed for this type of procedure and is provided by a special ion exchange system developed at ORNL. The concentration method, developed by researchers at the laboratory, uses rhenium-188 for the radiation of the coronary arteries after angioplasty. Rhenium treatment following balloon angioplasty cuts the rate of restenosis, or reblockage of the arteries, significantly.

The licensing agreement gives the St. Louis-based company sole commercial, field-of-use rights for the invention. With restenosis occurring in 25 percent to 30 percent of angioplasty patients, "the invention will help save time, lives and costs -- for both hospitals and patients," said Russ Knapp, principal investigator who led the team.

The technology was developed at ORNL by Knapp, Arnold Beets, Saed Mirzadeh and Stefan Guhke of the Life Sciences Division. Robert Mills, vice president and general manager of Mallinckrodt Interventional, said that Mallinckrodt

Contact: Ron Walli
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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