Medical Radiology and Radiation Safety. 2024. Vol. 69. № 2


D.Yu. Chuvilin1, I.I. Skobelin1, A.V. Kurochkin1, K.A. Makoveeva1,
A.N. Strepetov1, P.A. Karalkin2, M.A. Karalkina3, I.V. Reshetov3 

Experience in Developing Radiation Sources
for Personalized Brachytherapy Based on Titanium Alloys

1 National Research Centre “Kurchatov Institute”, Moscow, Russia

2 First Sechenov State Medical University, Moscow, Russia

3 Federal Center of Brain Research and Neurotechnologies, Moscow, Russia

Contact person: P.A. Karalkin, e-mail:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Purpose: The study explores the possibility of manufacturing radiation sources for personalized brachytherapy using titanium alloys, activated in a neutron flux reactor, by measuring the radiation composition of applicator implants and their dosimetric characteristics.

Material and methods: A 3D implant of a brachytherapy source was made from a titanium alloy using an additive selective laser melting setup. The titanium 3D prototype was irradiated for three days in the horizontal experimental channel of the IR-8 reactor. Subsequently, measurements of the gamma-ray spectrum from the irradiated implant were carried out on a spectrometer, and dose characteristics of the 3D implant were measured using a dosimeter-radiometer.

Results: In the experimental 3D implant obtained by us, the radionuclide 47Sc exhibits the highest activity. Currently, 47Sc is considered a promising candidate for brachytherapy. It possesses attractive nuclear and physical properties as a β-emitter, decaying into the ground state (27 %) of 47Ti (Eβmax = 600 keV) and the excited state of 47Ti (Eβmax = 439 keV) with a half-life of 3.4 days. Additionally, 47Sc emits γ-radiation at an energy of 159 keV (68 %), which is suitable for imaging, allowing for SPECT or planar scintigraphy and obtaining a picture of the drug’s distribution in the body. In the experimental implant, small amounts of scandium radionuclides – 46Sc and 48Sc, were also detected, emitting sufficiently hard gamma radiation, which can pose a problem for patient dosage determination. The advantages of using titanium-47 with an enrichment of over 95 %, economically available, have been demonstrated, allowing for high radiochemical yields of 47Sc, sufficient for therapy.

Conclusion: The 3D printing technology allows the production of a customized applicator for brachytherapy of specific dimensions and the delivery of arbitrarily-shaped sources to the tumor area for personalized therapy of oncological diseases. When implanting sources based on titanium alloys activated in a neutron flux of a research nuclear reactor, the radionuclide scandium-47 exhibits the highest activity.

Keywords:  brachytherapy, radionuclide therapy, titanium alloys, neutron activation, scandium-47

For citation: Chuvilin DYu, Skobelin II, Kurochkin AV, Makoveeva KA, Strepetov AN, Karalkin PA, Karalkina MA, Reshetov IV. Experience in Developing Radiation Sources for Personalized Brachytherapy Based on Titanium Alloys. Medical Radiology and Radiation Safety. 2024;69(2):73–80. (In Russian). DOI:10.33266/1024-6177-2024-69-2-73-80



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Conflict of interest. The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Financing. The study had no sponsorship.

Contribution. Article was prepared with equal participation of the authors.

Article received: 20.11.2023. Accepted for publication: 27.12.2023.