Council on Radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals, Inc.

CORAR advocates for public policies that impact health care, transportationsafety, homeland security, and manufacturing in an effort to expandaccess to safe and affordable health care treatments for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find some of the answers you may have about the radionuclide and radiopharmaceuticals industry.  If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please contact CORAR.

What is a radioisotope?
A radioisotope is a radioactive version of an element.  Radioactive elements differ from the stable versions of the same element in that they have either more or fewer neutrons.  For example all forms of carbon have the same number on protons (six), but the most common form has six neutrons as well. Forms with five (11C), seven (13C) and eight (the famous 14C) neutrons are radioactive. Some radioisotopes have very long half-lives.  For example, the half-life of 14C is 5700 years, making it useful for dating organic materials.  And some have very short half-lives: the half-live of 11C is only 20 minutes.  There is no chemical difference between the way the radioactive and non-radioactive versions of an element react.  The fact that there is no difference allows the radioactive versions of the element to be substituted for the non-radioactive versions to produce a tracer.  This principal can also be applied to therapy. Iodine, which was the first element used in nuclear medicine, is used exclusively by the thyroid gland.  If a radioactive isotope of iodine is introduced into the body, it will be taken up by the thyroid gland in exactly the same way as non-radioactive iodine.  A gamma camera can then be used to determine how well the thyroid is working.  Similarly, a large dose of radioactive iodine can be used to treat thyroid cancer by delivering a tumor-killing radiation dose directly to the cancerous tissue.  (Reprinted from

What are radiopharmaceuticals?
A type of imaging agent used in nuclear medicine, a branch of molecular imaging.  It is a compound consisting of a drug and a small amount of radioactive material that localizes in specific organs or areas of the body and can be detected by an imaging device.  (Reprinted from

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