SCK CEN, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, is a foundation of public utility. With laboratories in Mol and a registered office in Brussels, it is one of the largest research centres in Belgium. Over 900 people work on the development of peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Our mission prioritizes important societal issues: the safety of nuclear installations, solutions for radioactive waste disposal, radiation protection, sustainable development and education.
Activities and description
SCK CEN is a pre-clinical research partner and manufacturer of medical radioisotopes specialising in the field of radiopharmaceuticals. Engage our unique expertise, infrastructure, and focus to help you discover new opportunities in the fight against cancer. SCK CEN is specialized in the fields of radiobiology (incl. bioinformatics), radiochemistry and dosimetry. In combination with the right equipment to treat radioactive material and with irradiation facilities BR2 – and later also MYRRHA – the research centre holds a leading position.
The main radioisotopes in the portfolio of SCK CEN are: molybdenum-99, the source of the most important diagnostic radioisotope technetium-99m, yttrium-90 to treat neuroendocrine cancer and lutetium-177, an actively used radioisotope in the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer and a very promising one for numerous other cancers in the future. The BR2 research reactor covers up to 85% of the global demand for molybdenum-99 and, thanks to 200 operating days per year, covers on average 40% of the production annually. Other applications of BR2 are the production of radioisotopes for industry and the production of high-quality semiconductors (doped silicon).
With its NURA project, SCK CEN significantly increases its contribution to the fight against cancer. By pooling its knowledge and expertise, NURA contributes to the development of the next-generation radiopharmaceuticals. More specifically, NURA performs game-changing research into radiopharmaceuticals for treating different types of cancer in cooperation with clinical and industrial partners. Next to radiopharmaceutical research, SCK CEN also performs research into conventional photon and proton therapy to better determine the radiation doses.
The International Atom Energy Agency (IAEA) designated SCK CEN as one of the four International Centres based on Research Reactor (ICERR) in the world for its unique knowledge and infrastructure. With this label, the IAEA wants to give member states access to the research facilities in order to help them develop their nuclear sciences and technology programs. BR1, BR2, MYRRHA and VENUS are included in the ICERR program. SCK CEN also provides academics courses for students and customized training courses for professionals via its SCK CEN Academy (link).
- Healthcare: studies on dosimetry and the effects of low dose ionising radiation. This aids in optimizing radiotherapy treatments, aimed at reducing the dose exposure and side effects for patients and medical staff without affecting the quality of the medical care.
- Production and development of a broad range of medical radioisotopes
- Joint venture between SCK CEN and IBA: PANTERA SA/NV, which aims to secure the large-scale production of actinium-225, one of the most promising alpha-emitting radioisotopes to fight cancers.
- Collaboration between SCK CEN and IRE for the large-scale production of lutetium-177
- SCK CEN is founder of the spin-off company DoseVue NV that focuses on the development of an in-vivo realtime dosimetry system to be used in radiotherapy