Minister Rickford Highlights Major Milestone in Medical Isotope Strategy

SHERBROOKE, QC, Feb. 16, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, today announced an important milestone in medical isotope technologies with substantial funding from the Harper Government. Minister Rickford made the announcement at the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS).

In partnership with the University of Alberta, the CHUS has discovered that the isotope technetium-99m (Tc-99m) produced in Sherbrooke's cyclotron can deliver the same quality of imaging as a medical isotope produced with a reactor. This remarkable achievement is a significant step in the Government of Canada's medical isotope strategy that ensures the security of medical isotope supply.

Since 2010, the Government of Canada has committed $60 million to fund the research and development of these alternative technologies, specifically cyclotrons and linear accelerators, for the production of Tc-99m.  These investments in non-reactor based isotopes ensure the security of supply and assist in meeting our non-proliferation commitments.

Quick Facts

  • Technetium-99m, or Tc-99m, is used in 80 percent of nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures — two million medical scans are performed with this isotope in Canada every year. 
  • As part of its $60-million investment to advance alternative isotopes production technologies, the Government has committed $7 million to support the work led by the University of Alberta, including CHUS as a partner, for Tc-99m production from a cyclotron. 

 

Quotes

"The announcement of today's latest breakthrough in medical isotope production is outstanding news. We congratulate the Centre de recherche du CHUS in Sherbrooke and the University of Alberta on this impressive milestone. Our government's investment in scientific research is resulting in the production of a reliable, daily supply of life-saving medical isotopes while supporting high-quality jobs here in Quebec and across Canada."

Greg Rickford
Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative of Northern Ontario

 

SOURCE Natural Resources Canada

For further information: Alexandra Lemieux, Press Secretary, Office of Canada's Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, 613-996-2007, Or Media Relations, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, 613-992-4447; The general public may contact: Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EST, Telephone: 613-995-0947, TTY: 613-996-4397, (teletype for the hearing-impaired), E-mail: questions@nrcan.gc.ca; Follow us on Twitter: @NRCan (http://twitter.com/nrcan); NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media

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