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Bioinorganic Chemistry and Applications
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6148357, 8 pages
Review Article

In Vivo Radionuclide Generators for Diagnostics and Therapy

1Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
2Department of Clinical Physiology, Nuclear Medicine & PET, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
3Cluster for Molecular Imaging, Faculty of Health Science, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Center for Nuclear Technologies, Technical University of Denmark, Roskilde, Denmark
5Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
6Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

Received 20 August 2016; Accepted 8 November 2016

Academic Editor: Spyros P. Perlepes

Copyright © 2016 Patricia E. Edem et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In vivo radionuclide generators make complex combinations of physical and chemical properties available for medical diagnostics and therapy. Perhaps the best-known in vivo generator is 212Pb/212Bi, which takes advantage of the extended half-life of 212Pb to execute a targeted delivery of the therapeutic short-lived α-emitter 212Bi. Often, as in the case of 81Rb/81Kr, chemical changes resulting from the transmutation of the parent are relied upon for diagnostic value. In other instances such as with extended alpha decay chains, chemical changes may lead to unwanted consequences. This article reviews some common and not-so-common in vivo generators with the purpose of understanding their value in medicine and medical research. This is currently relevant in light of a recent push for alpha emitters in targeted therapies, which often come with extended decay chains.