EghtesadOnline: The most important application of nuclear technology in the field of medicine is the use of radioisotopes for diagnosing and treating critical illnesses, especially cancer.
“We have to take precautions, because the materials are radioactive. It is dangerous, especially to children and pregnant women. The only solution is to keep your distance from others for some time," Mohammad Reza Davapanah, CEO of Iranian company Pars Isotope, told ABC News in a video report.
Two infrastructures are needed for making radioisotopes. A reactor is needed for some, while other radioisotopes are produced using cyclotrons.
Illnesses in every part of the body can be diagnosed using radioisotopes. For example, you can diagnose cardiac problems using radioisotopes Technetium 99 MIBI. It is the most widely used isotope for diagnosis, Financial Tribune reported.
Radioisotopes are used for the diagnosis of bone diseases, as well as kidney and lung diseases.
Radioisotopes have a very short half-life; some have just a few hours. Quick access to radioisotopes is the most important issue for patients. Logistics is the most important factor for this access.
Countries like India and Iraq used to import radioisotopes from Iran.
Now Qatar Airways, Emirates and Turkish Airlines say they will not transfer “dangerous materials to or from Iran even though the airlines know these materials are for the diagnosis and treatment of illness”.
Because they are categorized as “dangerous materials”, they will not provide this service.
Reza Davapanah: "And, as for the sanctions, I would ask: Is cancer any different in the US than Iran? Is illness defined differently in the two countries?"
Dr. Rouhollah, a nuclear medicine specialist: "Now, because of sanctions, you cannot import either the equipment or the radioisotopes we need. So the treatment process must be put on hold until the diagnosis is finalized. The patient cannot go through surgery or chemotherapy until then. They cannot be helped in any way until the cancer’s stage has been completely determined."
Dr. Davoud Beigi, a nuclear pharmacist: "When these sanctions came into effect, we at the Iranian Society of Nuclear Medicine, which is an NGO, had a lot of correspondence with UNESCO, WHO, etc. We tried hard to explain that a cruel sanction is affecting Iranian people, mainly those with critical illnesses like cancer. They are the ones who are suffering, but we have not received any response yet."