Idaho State University hopes to change the way cancer is treated in order to increase patients' odds of survival. Early Monday a press conference was held at the Idaho National Laboratory campus that explained how the production of medical isotopes would work.
The isotopes, called copper-67, emit a particle that can kill cancer cells. ISU also said it will emit a gamma ray that can be used to show doctors where the cancer is in the patient. ISU has partnered with an Idaho Falls company, International Isotopes, to distribute copper-67.
The isotope will then go to researchers for drug development in several medical centers in the U.S.
"It is really great to have an opportunity to collaborate with ISU. It is really unique. We have a chance to have a business collaborate with a university; that is one aspect of it. Another aspect of it is that it is a new product to fight cancer with, which will be out there in trials and going through a clinical process," said Steve Laflin, CEO of International Isotopes.
"The people that we are supplying the isotopes to now will be supplying payment for those isotopes. So that is revenue that will be flowing back into the state of Idaho. International Isotopes, will take part of that payment in order to build their business and expand into new areas," said Howard Grimes, Research and Economic Development with ISU.
ISU said any drugs using the isotope will have to go through FDA approval and the process could take up to ten years. ISU also said the isotope has the potential to treat people suffering from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, bladder, colorectal, and ovarian cancers.