Nuclear chemistry is a branch of chemistry that talks about processes of nuclear and radioactivity, for instance, the properties and transmutation nuclear. It is a kind of chemistry classified with equipment and elements of radioactivity playing the role of nuclear processes. A good example is how abnormal and normal operations behave and when surfaces rust. It is the field where we study the effect of chemical absorbed during radiation of plants and animals. Furthermore, this radiation plays a major role in controlling biological radiation as it influences biochemical within the living things at the level of molecules. This effect can cause changes in the organism that can result in biological feedback. Therefore, it is through the nuclear chemistry that we come to understand cancer therapy and its utilization of this technology to treat cancer.
Nuclear chemistry has many applications with Radiotherapy and chemotherapy in that it is applied in the clinics to diagnose and treat diseases associated with cancerous tumour. Radiation in nuclear chemistry provides knowledge on how organs of human beings functions (Hall, 2015). Using this technology, physicians can diagnose the disease in the organs that easily makes images in human body taken with nuclear chemistry. These organs include liver, heart and bones where the disease is revealed. In addition, radioisotopes are used for the purpose of diagnosis in tumour treatment. The popular radioisotopes used in diagnosis are the technetium-99 accounting for all steps used in nuclear medicine all over the world (Chung, 2012). For instance, according to Brunette & Textor, (2012) US has almost 20million nuclear procedures done each year among a population of 311 citizens.
Once diagnosis of tumor has been made, nuclear chemistry offers an option in treatment through chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Due to radiation, some growths caused by cancer can be eliminated since diving cells can be sensitively damaged by this process. In developed countries, the beam found in the most powerful isotope called cobalt-60 is the one used in performing teletherapy in the procedure called gamma knife radiosurgery (Chung, 2012). This is done by focusing gamma radiation taken from the sources of cobalt-60 are concentrated on the part of the brain containing the tumour. Hospital data around the world shows that about 30,000 people are treated of this disease and in most cases are outpatients (Brunette & Textor, 2012).
Moreover, nuclear chemistry also has a wide application in medical cure that results in the low production of wastes. These wastes contain a small proportion of radioactive materials that decompose for a short period before their disposal (Chung, 2012). These wastes include rags, papers, clothing, and tools. They are referred to us radioactive wastes when they reach a point of not producing radioactive materials to be used in radiation process. Cobalt-60 is treated as a short waste while Radium-226 as a long term, depending on their period of radioactivity (Chung, 2012). For example in Australia there is a medicinal project called nuclear ANSTO, which develops a synroc treatment for its waste products. It treats both alkaline and wastes that are acidic.
Besides diagnosis and treatment of diseases, nuclear chemistry is also useful in labeling the biological molecules found on the outer part of the body. Pathologists find it easy in detecting whether the radioactive materials are present or not using nuclear chemistry (Brunette & Textor, 2012). This is seen in so many tests conducted to show the level of urine, blood, hormones and drugs by radioisotopes (Hall, 2015). Besides, the radioimmuno- assays steps used in biological chemistry seems to be very much complicated but laboratory kits produced are very easy to handle and obtain accurate results (Hall, 2015). In the context of Europe, every year 15 million people are taken for this process.
Similarly, nuclear chemistry is important in medical instrument and supplies sterilization by the application gamma irradiation (Deans, 2013). This equipment includes gloves, syringes and products that lay risk of being damaged if sterilized by the use of heat. The most common isotope used in used on large scale worldwide is the Cobalt-60 (Chung, 2012). This isotope is the most powerful because it produces gamma that is so much energetic. We also have gamma irradiators that are too small that performs the purposes of treating transfused blood.
In conclusion, radiopharmaceutical treatment is used for two important reasons. It is used for predicting the likely outcomes of a surgery and changes expected from the times one undertakes treatment. It is also used to determine the working condition of the heart, liver, and lungs as well as the flow of blood in human brain. At first, the patient is likely to feel uncomfortable but after a short period, he feels well. This discomfort comes because of the powerfulness of the machines used to observe organs from outside of the body. The radioisotope used produces most energetic rays of gamma from the body that must be halfway in the journey of decomposition.
- Brunette, D. M., & Textor, M. (2012). Titanium in medicine: material science, surface science, engineering, biological responses and medical applications. Springer Science & Business Media.
- Chung, J.-K. (2012). Sodium iodide symporter: its role in nuclear medicine. Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 43(9), 1188–1200.
- Deans, S. R. (2013). The Radon transform and some of its applications. Courier Corporation.
- Hall, D. G. (2015). Boronic acids: preparation, applications in organic synthesis and medicine. John Wiley & Sons.