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Cuban Isotope Center Opens
CubaNews / February 1996

By Larry Luxner

The Argentine company Invap S.E. is helping Cuba prepare to substitute the imports of radiopharmaceuticals and marked compounds with the opening of its new Centis isotope center on the outskirts of Havana.

According to the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina,the complex will supply Cuba with Hipuran, pyrophosphate, DTPA and other high value-added products used in nuclear medicine, pharmacological tests and genetic engineering. During the first half of 1996, after Centis gets its operating license from Cuba's National Center for Nuclear Safety, the plant will produce radioisotopes now made in labs located at the Center for Applied Studies in Nuclear Development.

Centis will also provide scientific and technical services such as molecule radioactive marking -- a technique commonly used in pharmacokinetics -- handling and storage of radioactive sources, determination of chemical composition and counseling on radioisotope applications.

"As we consolidate the work of this center, the country will be in a position to acquire isotopic raw materials and conduct here the necessary processes for the corresponding fractionation, dosage and marking," said Rosa Elena Simeon, Cuba's minister of science, technology and environment. She added that although the sale of pharmaceuticals abroad hasn't been ruled out, "this representas a great challenge because production has to be really competitive in terms of quality and price, and the complexity and specificity of the market also has to be considered."

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