Regions Central Virginia

Nuclear pharmacy opens first Virginia site

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli

For nuclear pharmacy Triad Isotopes, delivering its product is like delivering ice. Take too long, and it’ll dissolve. Triad Isotope’s radiopharmaceuticals have a short half-life, about six hours, so they must be transported quickly.

In February, Orlando-Fla.-based Triad Isotopes opened its first facility in Virginia, in Henrico County outside Richmond.

The company previously served clients, such as the hospitals of Bon Secours Richmond Health System, from Beltsville, Md., a more-than-two-hour drive from Richmond. The new Henrico facility is the company’s 60th in the United States. 

“Being readily available for anything that might come up at any given moment was very important, especially to such a large network of hospitals with such a large number of patients,” says Nicola Mercer, pharmacy manager of Triad Isotopes in Henrico.

Triad Isotopes provides products used by hospitals and nuclear medicine operators to help diagnose and treat patients, primarily those with cardiac and cancer concerns. According to the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radioactive material. In imaging, radiopharmaceuticals are detected by special types of cameras providing precise pictures of the area of the body being examined. In treatment, radiopharmaceuticals go directly to the organ being treated.

The Henrico facility has 3,500 square feet and is one of four that Triad Isotopes built from the ground up (the others are in Orlando, Baltimore and Apex, N.C.). The new facility, which employs seven people, includes two cleanrooms and an I-131 compounding room which would be utilized to compound Iodine-131 capsules used for thyroid imaging and thyroid therapy (capsules currently are received from a manufacturer).
The Henrico facility serves nine clients, including the Bon Secours network of hospitals, several cardiology clinics, nuclear medicine equipment manufacturer Digirad in Williamsburg and Rappahannock Hospital in Kilmarnock.

Mercer, who’s been in the nuclear pharmacy industry for more than a decade, says it offers her an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. “I love the fact that, in a moment’s notice, we can get something to a patient and, today, I am going to give somebody the best, or possibly not so great news, but in the receiving of that news they can determine their future medical needs and go from there,” she says.

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