Moving closer to the production of the world's rarest drug


An alliance between two leading Belgian players in the fight against cancer means that the production of a very promising drug can be envisaged in the near future.

The world leader in particle accelerator technology, Ion Beam Applications S.A. (IBA), originally a spin-off of KU Leuven, has entered into a strategic partnership with the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK CEN) to produce Actinium-225 (225Ac). This new type of radioisotope, a radioactive isotope whose unstable nucleus can decay and emit radiation, shows great promise in treating various forms of cancer, from the most common to the rarest.

Actinium-225 has the ability to kill cancer cells thanks to its cytotoxic power, i.e. it is harmful in a targeted way on some cancer cells while preserving the surrounding healthy tissues.

This type of drug is still very rarely produced around the world. And this collaboration between IBA and SCK CEN should make it possible to overcome this scarcity of Actinium-225. A research and development (R&D) synergy is therefore being set up with a view to the technical and economic feasibility of this project, which will lead to the drug being produced on the site of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre based in Mol (Antwerp Province).

Belgium is once again demonstrating and achieving its ambitions in the fight against cancer.