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MU Research Reactor supplying radioisotope for new FDA approved cancer therapy

Lutathera®, a new drug in the fight against cancer, receives FDA approval

February 8th, 2018

Story Contact: Jeff Sossamon, 573-882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – More than 15 years ago, scientists at the University of Missouri’s Research Reactor (MURR®) identified promising properties of the radioisotope lutetium-177 (Lu-177), which can be used to treat cancer. It was recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a Lu-177 based drug, Lutathera® (lutetium Lu 177 dotatate), to treat certain types of tumors that can occur in the gastrointestinal tract and pancreas. MURR is the sole U.S. supplier of Lu-177 for use in Lutathera®, which was developed by Advanced Accelerator Applications, S.A., a Novartis company.

“I am delighted that MURR’s research scientists have played such an integral role in promoting the merits of Lu-177 and for the ultimate success achieved by Lutathera®,” said David Robertson, director of research for MURR.

“Research and discoveries made at MURR and across campus will continue to improve the health and lives of citizens of Missouri, the nation and the world” said Mark McIntosh, vice president for research and economic development at the UM System and vice chancellor for research, graduate studies and economic development at MU. “Being the nation’s sole supplier for the active ingredient in a commercially approved cancer therapy such as Lutathera® is a pride point for MU and a responsibility the MURR team takes very seriously.”

“Successes like these pull us all together, from researchers to reactor operations to the entire production and supporting teams,” said Matt Sanford, MURR interim executive director. “We know we are making a difference in the lives of cancer patients every single day.”

This work highlights the capabilities of MURR, a crucial component to research at the university for more than 50 years. Operating 6.5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, scientists from across the campus use the 10-megawatt facility to not only provide crucial radioisotopes for clinical settings globally, but also to date artifacts, improve medical diagnostic tools and prevent illness.

Editor’s Note: For more on the story, please see “Advanced Accelerator Applications Receives US FDA Approval for Lutathera® for Treatment of Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Lutathera® is a trademark of Advanced Accelerator Applications. Full prescribing information for Lutathera® can be found at