How it works


212Pb is a rare isotope found in certain by-products of AREVA processes.

Over the past few years, AREVA Med and its partners have demonstrated the benefits of using 212Pb in alpha radioimmunotherapy.
This treatment shows great potential for combating certain very agressive types of cancer.

  • How It Works

    Over the past few years, AREVA Med and its partners have demonstrated the benefits of using lead-212 (212Pb) in a preclinical setting. 212Pb is used in alpha radioimmunotherapy, a targeted cancer treatment. This novel approach destroys cancer cells by transporting and delivering a short-range radioactive isotope called lead-212 (212Pb) to the cancer cell. The isotope's short-range energy then attacks the cancer cell while minimizing damage to nearby healthy cells.

  • What is Lead-212?

    Lead-212 (212Pb) is a rare isotope that is part of the thorium-228 decay chain. This alpha-radiation emitting compound shows promise in the treatment of some aggressive types of cancer.

    AREVA Med has developed processes to extract the 212Pb from its recycled uranium fuel as part of its nuclear operations and also from thorium as part of past industrial activities. Due to the relatively short half-life of the isotope, after being manufactured at the Maurice Tubiana facility, it is shipped and delivered promptly to the clinical site.

    Thorium-228 Decay Chain

  •  Research

    Relying on its experience in radiochemistry and nuclear engineering, AREVA has developed innovative processes to extract rare isotopes derived from its industrial activities.

    The group has invested significantly in several R&D programs which are directed by AREVA Med and conducted at AREVA’s Bessines site in Limousin, France.

    Some of these programs have led to several patented innovations, including:

    • a method for separating a chemical element from a uranium solution
    • a process for extracting thorium-228 from a natural thorium salt, which can be used to manufacture radiopharmaceutical products used in radioimmunotherapy treatment for cancers
  • Production Facility

    AREVA is currently constructing a new facility to produce large-scale quantities of high purity 212Pb in Bessines-sur-Gartempe in the Limousin region of France. This one-of-a-kind facility, named after world-renowned oncologist Professor Maurice Tubiana, will be used to industrialize the production of high purity 212Pb to supply AREVA Med with this isotope for development of new radioimmunotherapy anti-cancer treatments.

    Maurice Tubiana: March 25, 1920 - September 24, 2013

    Luc Oursel, CEO of AREVA, pays homage to Maurice Tubiana


    AREVA Med: Ground-breaking ceremony of the Maurice Tubiana Facility

    The AREVA Med Maurice Tubiana Facility has 2 main objectives:
    1. Supply 212Pb to AREVA Med for development of new anti-cancer treatments
    2. Industrialize the production of high purity 212Pb


For more information about AREVA Med, please contact:
Alison Tise
Tel.: + 1 (301) 841-1673