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Life AtomicA History of Radioisotopes in Science and Medicine$
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Angela N. H. Creager

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226017808

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226017945.001.0001

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Beams and Emanations

Beams and Emanations

(p.311) Chapter Nine Beams and Emanations
Life Atomic

Angela N. H. Creager

University of Chicago Press

After World War II, the quest for novel ways to use radioisotopes in cancer treatment remained disappointing. The most important development was the use of cobalt-60 in teletherapy machines, which began to replace radium as an external radiation source in hospitals. By contrast, the growth of medical diagnostics with radioisotopes to locate tumors and observe organ function mirrored the biochemical usage of radioisotopes as tracers. Investigation into the detection and treatment of brain tumors with various radioelements laid the groundwork for the subsequent development of positron-emission tomography. At the same time, related research into neutron-capturing isotopes for treating such tumors provided the basis for secret AEC studies of uranium metabolism in dying patients. Nuclear medicine reveals how both a common organizational structure and key materials—not least radioisotopes—linked the AEC’s civilian and military agendas.

Keywords:   Nuclear medicine, Teletherapy, Cobalt-60, M.D. Anderson, Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies, Marshall Brucer, Total Body Irradiation, William Sweet, Gordon Brownell

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