Belgium is a worldwide leader in all links required for the clinical practice in nuclear medicine and for the applications of nuclear science and technology in healthcare. From the production and refinement of radioisotopes over transport, generator production, labelling and radiopharmaceuticals, imaging equipment, pre-clinical and clinical studies to daily practice, Belgium excels in all steps of the value chain. Associated with this is top-level expertise in the required fields.
Irradiation, purification, isotope supply
Thanks to the expertise in production and refinement of radionuclides, Belgium is one of the few countries in the world able to process and supply industrial scale amounts of medical radionuclides.
Transport interconnects the successive links in the value chain from irradiation and refinement to the end-users or hospitals. It requires the respect of challenging safety and security procedures. A challenge is time as every minute lost may impact patient care.
Some short-lived isotopes are decay products of parent isotopes with a much longer half-life. Generators containing the parent isotopes can be eluted (a.k.a. “milked”) when required to obtain the daughter isotope for clinical use.
Radiochemistry, radiopharmacy, medical physics
Administering radioactive products to a patient requires the full respect of pharmaceutical and nuclear safety regulations concerning purity, sterility, and radiation dose. Most companies started as spin-offs of Belgian universities and are now leaders in their field.
Dedicated Hard- and Software
Belgian universities, hospitals, research institutes and companies have a long tradition in medical imaging, image processing and/or image management. The companies, started as spin-offs of Belgian universities, inherited their academic creativity and flexibility.
Education and training
The expertise available in universities, research and clinical centres, is shared through different E&T programs. Most of them, as well as SCK CEN, have open positions for doctoral education and post-doctoral research programs in the field.
Academic research and patient care
Academic research related to health care, whether it is fundamental, preclinical, or clinical, is an essential activity of all Belgian universities and university-based hospitals. This leads either to the creation of spin-offs or to close collaborations with leading industries.
Medical applications of nuclear science and technology not only rely on the global supply chain from production to delivery, but also require external services and consultancy. The listed companies provide those services.
Agencies and associations
Belgium hosts national and international agencies, associations and learned societies, essential for the field. They can bring support to any local or foreign entity, private or public, seeking help in the domain of medical applications of nuclear science and technology.