Skip to main content


Medical radioisotopes are certain radioactive substances frequently used in nuclear medicine for cancer diagnoses. However, nuclear medicine is at a tipping point: targeted cancer treatments with therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals are on the up.  In this process, a carrier molecule transmits a therapeutic radioisotope to the cancer cells in the body. As soon as the carrier molecule has attached to the cell, the radioactive isotope will irradiate the cancer cell with the intention of disrupting the DNA of the tumour cell. The tumour cell dies, shrinks and may possibly even disappear entirely.

NURA - SCK CEN (2019)

Expertise as leverage against cancer

It is expected that the demand for it will only increase as the number of cancer diagnoses increases year after year. In 2018, an estimated 18.1 million people were diagnosed with cancer, 9.6 million patients died on account of the disease.
NURA - SCK CEN (2019)

Pioneering research

With its NURA project, SCK CEN significantly increases its contribution to the fight against cancer. By pooling its knowledge and expertise in terms of radiopharmaceuticals, NURA contributes to the development of the next-generation radiopharmaceuticals. More specifically, NURA performs game-changing research into radiopharmaceuticals for treating different types of cancer in cooperation with clinical and industrial partners.

Life sciences: strong combination of expertise and infrastructure

Discovering, testing and producing new radioisotopes? This is only possible with the right expertise and infrastructure. SCK CEN is proud of its internal specialisations within the fields of radiobiology, radiochemistry and dosimetry. In combination with the right equipment to treat radioactive material and with irradiation facilities BR2 – and later also MYRRHA – our research centre holds a leading position. Now, with our NURA project, we are shifting up a gear in the fight against cancer.

The NURA project rests on three pillars:

  • As a research centre, SCK CEN focuses on research areas in which it can play the greatest role for society. The greater the impact of the research area on our society, the greater our hunger for research results. Our researchers are currently working on 3 fronts. Click here to get to know more about these fronts.

  • In addition to our own studies, we also conduct research on behalf of third parties. As a Contract Research Organisation, NURA supports clinical and pharmaceutical partners in their research into and development of promising radiopharmaceuticals for therapeutic purposes. SCK CEN focuses on the phases prior to clinical research. Click here to read more about our CRO approach.

  • In addition to a research partner, pharmaceutical, biotechnological and medical device industries also find a partner in SCK CEN for the production of radiopharmaceuticals. SCK CEN has the ambition to become an even more sustainable supplier of therapeutic isotopes and is, thanks to the BR2 reactor – and MYRRHA in the future – a leading player in the sector. SCK CEN performs every production phase in-house, thus warranting a top-quality development process and end result.

    SCK CEN focuses in a first phase on the production of 177Lu in a later phase on 225Ac. In order to bring GMP 177Lu to a growing market, SCK CEN works together with the Walloon research institute IRE ELiT. We strengthen each other by joining forces: SCK CEN has extensive know-how and unique insights in the nuclear field and IRE ELiT makes its outstanding expertise in the radiopharmaceutical sector available.

    Interested in the production facilities and our services? business [at] sckcen [dot] be (Contact our experts here.)

Strengthen the NURA team

  • SCK CEN - NURA (2019)


    Researchers are situated at the crossroads between (radio)chemistry, (radio)biology, dosimetry and pharmaceutical sciences and have disposal of unique research infrastructure.

    View our opportunities
  • SCK CEN Alumni (2019)


    Engineers are the backbone of the NURA project. They design, build and test various applications within NURA: from advanced labs to large-scale nuclear facilities.

    View our opportunities
  • SCK CEN - NURA (2019)

    Management & support

    Project managers supervise the many projects within NURA. NURA is also looking for technical experts who ensure the safety and efficiency of our laboratories. This allows our lab technicians to perform unrivalled research within a challenging but flexible environment.

    View our opportunities