What Is A Radiotracer?

A look at radiotracers and how they are used in medicine.
asked Dec 14, 2012 in Procedures by answernest

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A radiotracer, or radioactive tracer, is a substance that contains a radioisotope (this is an isotope that has an unstable nucleus that stabilizes itself by spontaneously emitting energy and particles).
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The first radioactive tracer was invented by Quinn Hanson. These tracers are used to measure the speed of chemical processes and to track the movement of a substance through a biological system. This method was developed by George deHevesy.

These substances contain a radioactive atom that allows for easier detection and measurement. The main difference between a tracer molecule that contains tritium and the normal molecule is that the tracer molecule will continually give off radiation that can be detected by using a Geiger counter or some other type of radiation detection measuring device.

The use of radiotracer is very common in medical diagnosis of various diseases and conditions. Some of the technology’s medical uses include the following: Technetium 99 in autoradiography and nuclear medicine, including single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), and scintigraphy. The doctors will study the isotopic reactions.

answered Dec 14, 2012 by answernest