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New source of an isotope in medicine is found

New York Times, February 17, 2010

As the worldwide shortage of a radioactive isotope used in millions of medical procedures was expected to get worse, officials say a new source for the substance has emerged in a nuclear reactor in Poland. The isotope, technetium 99, is used to measure blood flow in the heart and to help diagnose bone and breast cancers. Almost two-thirds of the world's supply comes from two reactors. On has been shut for repairs for nine months and is not expected to reopen before April, and the other will close for six months starting Feb. 19. Radiologists say that as a result of the shortage, their treatment of some patients has had to revert to inferior materials and techniques, the New York Times reports.