CPDC Joins National Project to Develop Alternative Sources of Medical Isotopes

January 24, 2011 CPDC

Non-reactor-based production of medical isotopes could provide Canadians with back-up or supplementary supplies and ease disruptions to patient scans.

HAMILTON, ON: JANUARY 24, 2011 – The Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC) joined the Government of Canada today to announce a national project to develop alternative sources of medical isotopes that could help to secure a reliable, long-term supply for Canadians. Highly experienced in the research, development and manufacturing of isotope-based imaging agents for medical scans, CPDC will collaborate with a national team of experts to demonstrate that commercially available cyclotrons, or particle accelerators, can be used to create back-up or supplementary supplies of one of the most widely used medical isotopes, Technetium-99m (Tc-99m).

CPDC is part of a national team led by TRIUMF and includes BC Cancer Agency and Lawson Health Research Institute. The team will base its development on a broad range of cyclotrons that are already found in hospitals and research institutions across Canada. The primary goal is to show that this equipment could enable regionally based cyclotrons to produce the Tc-99m isotope for local distribution to local clinics.

Smaller and simpler than nuclear reactors, a decentralized network of cyclotrons producing
Tc-99m could potentially mitigate the effects of global isotope shortages for Canadians and help health-care providers perform important, and often life-saving, medical scans as scheduled.

“We are extremely pleased to be part of this very important project, which aims to strengthen our nation’s supply of medical isotopes and reduce the impact to patients resulting from supply interruptions,” said Dr. John Valliant, CEO and Scientific Director of the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization. “CPDC brings to the team a broad range of expertise in radiochemistry, imaging agent development, quality control and commercialization. We will play a key role in evaluating the technetium that is produced and in assessing the production and purification strategies for the various cyclotrons used in the project.”

The Government of Canada is investing $35 million in the Non-reactor Based Isotope Supply Contribution Project (NISP). The TRIUMF team has been awarded $6 million for its research. Other teams that are participating in the project are being led by Université de Sherbrooke, Canadian Light Source and the Prairie Isotope Production Enterprise.

Technetium-99m, primarily produced in nuclear reactors, was in short supply worldwide when Canada’s Chalk River reactor was shut down in 2009 for an extended period to conduct repairs. The reactor produces more than a third of the world’s supply of medical isotopes and the resulting shortage caused numerous delays and cancellations of medical scans that rely on the isotopes, such as scans of bones, heart, brain, kidneys, liver and more.

About the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC):
CPDC discovers, develops and distributes molecular imaging probes for the early diagnosis of diseases and to assess the effectiveness of treatments. An important part of Ontario’s health system, CPDC provides a reliable, daily supply of imaging probes to hospitals across the province. CPDC also works collaboratively with industry and academic partners, offering the research, manufacturing and regulatory expertise needed to move innovative probe technology and new therapeutic drugs from R&D labs to clinical use.

CPDC, located on the McMaster University Campus, is a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, part of the Networks of Centres of Excellence Program, and is supported by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, GE Healthcare, Cancer Care Ontario, and McMaster University. To learn more, visit CPDC at www.imagingprobes.ca.

TRIUMF is Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. Located on the south campus of the University of British Columbia, TRIUMF is owned and operated as a joint venture by a consortium of the following Canadian universities, via a contribution through the National Research Council Canada: University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, Carleton University, University of Guelph, University of Manitoba, McMaster University, University of Northern British Columbia, Université de Montréal, Queen’s University, University of Regina, Saint Mary’s University, Simon Fraser University, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, and York University. To learn more, visit http://www.triumf.ca and http://www.triumf.ca/nrcan-nisp

About the BC Cancer Agency:
The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. The BC Cancer Foundation raises funds to support research and enhancements to patient care at the BC Cancer Agency. To learn more, visit http://www.bccancer.bc.ca.

About Lawson:
Lawson Health Research Institute, located in London, Ontario, is one of Canada’s largest and most respected hospital-based research institutes. As the research arm of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care, London, and working in partnership with The University of Western Ontario, Lawson is committed to furthering scientific knowledge to advance health care around the world. Its state-of-the-art, 6,000 sq. ft. Nordal Cyclotron & PET Radiochemistry Facility opened on March 31, 2010 and includes a GE PETtrace 8 cyclotron with proton and deuteron acceleration capability, class 100 shielded hot cells, and automated chemistry units for producing F-18 and C-11 radiopharmaceuticals – all to GMP specifications. To learn more, visit http://www.lawsonimaging.ca and http://impatiens.sjhc.london.on.ca/drupal/node/1649.

For more information, please contact:

T: 905-525-9140, ext 21212
E: info@imagingprobes.ca

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