One of the new, promising areas of nuclear medicine involves radiolabeled low-molecular-weight peptides for the diagnosis and management of cancer. Somatostatin analogous peptides bind to membrane receptors on tumors with high specificity. These analogues, when radiolabeled with 123I, 131I, 99 mTc, 111In, allow for external scintigraphic imaging or radioguided surgical resection of tumors. Somatostatin analogues with high tumor binding affinity have also been used for high-dose radiotherapy at the Medical Center of Louisiana since 1994. Although we had extensive prior experience with relatively high-dose 131I administration for thyroid ablation, our personnel protection, contamination control, and other safety techniques required significant modification to ensure effective contamination and radiation exposure control. As therapy with radiolabeled peptides becomes more widely utilized, the controls developed at our institution may be implemented by others to maintain exposures ALARA.
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