Radium Incorporated in Waynesboro, Virginia was awarded a patent for their proprietary shielding solution branded as ClearView Radiation Shielding™ in 2019. ClearView was developed in 2016 and first used in early 2017 by a chemistry department in a nuclear plant to perform analysis of radioactive water samples during a refueling outage. That was just a start for the ClearView™ product line. As of today, ClearView Radiation Shielding is used by half of the nuclear plants in United States. Radium is currently expanding business into Mexico and Canada.
Radium is actively developing novel products aimed at minimizing occupational dose exposure for the healthcare industry and radioisotope manufacturers. With collaborations at University of Wisconsin – Madison, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Stanford University for testing new products, Radium continues to innovate in worker radiation protection. ClearView™ Rolling Shields are being used at several hospitals across the United States for inpatient radiotherapy such as I-131 mIBG for treatment of pheochromocytoma and neuroblastoma, cancers found in the adrenal glands.
Usually lead (Pb) shields, weighing approximately 1000 lbs. are used to create a barrier protecting hospital staff and family from the patient who is undergoing such treatment. The lead shields are extremely heavy and have to be moved large distances by nurses, with some shields not having handles. Incidents have been reported of lead (Pb) shields slipping out of hand while transporting them from storage into a patient room. A nuclear medicine manager of a hospital in California recently said, “we have to absolutely get rid of these lead (Pb) shields.” In addition, using lead shields makes the patient to feel they are locked in a box, which results in an unpleasant patient experience. Medical centers have reported that anxious patients often refuse therapy due to such reasons resulting in failure to receive lifesaving treatment.
The ClearView™ Rolling Shields (below) allow the patient to see and interact with their family and the hospital staff. This significantly helps relieve patient anxiety as reported by Mott Children’s Hospital at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The ClearView™ shields are about half the weight of traditional lead shields (peer reviewed published data) providing adequate protection from radiation. Being lighter and allowing ease of communication, these shields have become a preferred choice by several doctors, nurses and nuclear medicine technicians. Lead shields also come in fixed sizes, while ClearView™ Rolling Shields are almost always custom made. Hospitals using two 1000 lbs. shields now use 2 shields, each 285 lbs.; significantly reducing the hazard of transporting heavy equipment.
Radiotherapies require a shielded room so people in the hallway by therapy room are not exposed to radiation coming from the patient. Several hospitals have spent over a million dollars to make a lead lined room, which requires significant time and structural reinforcement. Many hospitals wanting to start inpatient radiotherapy programs find this cost very prohibitive. Radium has developed a turnkey solution to retrofit a regular patient room into a therapy room at half the cost within floor loading constraints. A hospital in Los Angeles, California area will be the first one to implement Radium’s solution to perform mIBG therapies.
Understanding issues and limitations of nuclear medicine technicians using lead (Pb) has led to development of new products using ClearViewTM. Radium has developed shields to protect hospital staff from gammas emitted and monitor infusion during treatment of neuroendocrine tumors from Lutathera (Lutetium Lu 177 dotatate), a radioactive targeted therapy. Safe and accurate infusion of radiopharmaceuticals is challenging when heavy lead (Pb) bricks have to be used. Radium is developing see-through syringe pumps shields for therapies using radiopharmaceuticals such as I-123 and I-131 using ClearView™ . Another product on the radar is a shield for Sn-117m (Tin) injection used for treatment of osteoarthritis in canines relieving pain and inflammation for up to one year and is currently being reviewed for human use. “With the FDA increasing approvals of radiopharmaceuticals, Radium has been encouraged to continue its growing presence in the healthcare industry,” says Cam Abernethy, President of Radium Incorporated.
“Collaborating with nuclear medicine staff, physicians and radioisotope manufacturers has been great and we will continue to create innovative products focused on radiation protection,” says Jayeesh Bakshi, Director of Engineering and New Products of Radium Incorporated.