Columbia becomes sole U.S. supplier of isotope for thyroid cancer treatment

11 months 4 days 2 hours ago Friday, November 09 2018 Nov 9, 2018 Friday, November 09, 2018 4:18:00 AM CST November 09, 2018 in News
By: Jared Austin, KOMU 8 Reporter, Micki Neiman, KOMU 8 Digital Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri Research Reactor, also known as MURR, has created the first domestic supply of Iodine-131 (I-131) in the United States since the 1980s.

I-131 is a radioisotope used for diagnosing and treating thyroid cancer and hyperthyroidism.

“I-131 is the active ingredient that’s at the heart of a treatment used for thyroid cancer," said the MURR Associate Director, Ken Brooks. "One of the great things about it is that its effective. It’s kind of been the go-to treatment for thyroid cancer since the 1950’s.”

MURR shipped its first batch of I-131 this week, making it the only supplier in the country. According to Brooks, prior to this week, the closest supplier to the states was in Canada.

According to the National Cancer Institute, about 54,000 patients a year are diagnosed with thyroid cancer, with an estimated 2,060 estimated deaths a year. 

University of Missouri graduate Jana Blasko was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December 2016.

Blasko under went surgery to remove the lump in her neck shortly after her diagnosis before starting her I-131 radiation treatment.

“I would say the biggest struggle for the treatment was the insurance coverage of it." said Blasko. "They didn’t necessarily cover all of it or they covered the shots you get leading up to it to boost your thyroid levels. It was kind of the pieces they would cover and it’s obviously a really really expensive treatment.”

According to Blasko, the treatment cost her around $2,000. 

The treatment has a shelf life of about two weeks which makes distribution tough, as they cannot ship mass amounts out at a time.

“One of the benefits of producing I-131 here at the MU Research Reactor is our central geography in the U.S.," said Brooks. "So we can distribute this short shelf life drug material to anywhere in the U.S. quickly."

I-131 currently ships out of St. Louis and Kansas City airports. 

The isotope is one of several MURR creates to help in the medical field. The reactor has been a crucial component to research at the university for more than 50 year.  

“One of the benefits of generating this isotope is it does generate revenue and here at the University Research Reactor we generate revenue to do what?" said Brooks. "To fund additional research.”



More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Maries County sheriff's deputies said a drunk driver was to blame in a fatal car crash from early... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 8:46:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Drivers on I-70 westbound saw 2 mile long delays around mile marker 124 when the Missouri State Highway... More >>
10 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 4:18:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
ROCHEPORT - The Missouri Department of Natural Resources said the number of people using the Katy Trail is down by... More >>
11 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 3:08:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The CDC began monitoring the 2019-2020 flu season this weekend. And doctors are urging people to get their... More >>
11 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 2:55:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA — Six Columbia churches had their first Sunday service with improved emergency health precautions on Oct. 13. The... More >>
12 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 2:00:00 PM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
HARSTBURG – Celebrating another fall season with pumpkin carving, hayrides and a straw maze, the 28th annual Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, October 13 2019 Oct 13, 2019 Sunday, October 13, 2019 8:00:00 AM CDT October 13, 2019 in News
TOKYO (AP) — A heavy downpour and strong winds pounded Tokyo and surrounding areas on Saturday as a powerful typhoon... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 8:03:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
LILBOURN, Mo. (AP) — A small earthquake has been reported in southeastern Missouri. The U.S. Geological Survey says... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 7:41:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — One person died after a crash in Cooper County Saturday morning. Haven Pennington, 19, drove her Pontiac... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 4:55:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
There is 5:40 left in the game. North Kansas City's Ronaldo Calderon kicks a field goal to give the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 12:36:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — The dome of the Missouri Capitol building will be lit pink in honor of breast cancer... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 12:08:00 PM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
HARTSBURG - The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival announced parking will be moved to the river roads near the festival grounds. ... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, October 12 2019 Oct 12, 2019 Saturday, October 12, 2019 5:50:44 AM CDT October 12, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man is behind bars after a search warrant turned up illegal drugs and and a firearm.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 11 2019 Oct 11, 2019 Friday, October 11, 2019 10:07:00 PM CDT October 11, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from football games around mid-Missouri. Final scores are in bold. ... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 11 2019 Oct 11, 2019 Friday, October 11, 2019 6:39:00 PM CDT October 11, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - Friday Night Fever’s Week 7 Game of the Week features an interesting game between a traveling Rockhurst (3-3)... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 11 2019 Oct 11, 2019 Friday, October 11, 2019 6:10:00 PM CDT October 11, 2019 in Friday Night Fever
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department is asking for the public’s help locating 28-year-old Mengqi Ji Elledge. Elledge was... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 11 2019 Oct 11, 2019 Friday, October 11, 2019 4:38:00 PM CDT October 11, 2019 in News
NEW FLORENCE - The Missouri State Highway Patrol awarded Randy Nordman and his widow Julie Nordman with the department's highest... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 11 2019 Oct 11, 2019 Friday, October 11, 2019 3:52:00 PM CDT October 11, 2019 in News
CALIFORNIA - The Moniteau County Sheriff’s Office and the California Police Department made contact with people in two vehicles that... More >>
2 days ago Friday, October 11 2019 Oct 11, 2019 Friday, October 11, 2019 1:59:00 PM CDT October 11, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 45°
3am 44°
4am 40°
5am 40°
6am 41°