An overview of radioisotope separation technologies for development of 188W/188Re radionuclide generators providing 188Re to meet future research and clinical demands
The role of the tungsten-188/rhenium-188 (188W/188Re) generator system to provide the no-carrier added (NCA) 188Re therapeutic radionuclide for applications in nuclear medicine and oncology is well established. The evolution and successful use of the 188W/188Re generator in nuclear medicine has resulted from new discoveries and innovations from separation science along with technological advances which have broadened the scope and utility of 188W/188Re generators. Nonetheless, there are still additional opportunities for improvements and innovations in separation science which will undoubtedly continue to provide improvements in 188W/188Re generator technology. In this review, we discuss the reported separation technologies such as the adsorption-type systems which have been traditionally used as well as emerging separation technologies which have the potential for further development of 188W/188Re generator systems. This article also outlines the comparative advantages and disadvantages of various key separation technologies. Further, the regulatory challenges, the impact on 188W/188Re technology with the emergence of professionally run central radiopharmacies, and the role of automation are discussed.