Government of Canada Supports Research to Help Address Medical Isotope Shortage

    OTTAWA, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of
Health, announced today that the Government of Canada is supporting research
to find alternatives to nuclear-produced Technetium-99m, the principal medical
isotope affected by the current shutdown at the Chalk River nuclear reactor.
Health professionals use medical isotopes in combination with imaging
technologies to diagnose and treat conditions such as cancer and heart
    The initiative announced today is a partnership between the Canadian
Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering
Council of Canada (NSERC).
    "Our government is taking several measures to address the medical needs
of Canadians during this medical isotope shortage," said Minister Aglukkaq.
"One course of action we are actively pursuing is funding research that would
provide alternatives to the principal medical isotope produced at Chalk
    The Government of Canada is providing $6 million towards this research
initiative which will advance research into alternative, non-nuclear, medical
isotopes that could replace Technetium-99m in certain medical imaging
procedures and support the production and clinical testing of these
    "Canadian health researchers and clinicians are world leaders in the
development and use of imaging technologies," said Dr. Alain Beaudet,
President of CIHR. "We are pleased to support this effort to find solutions
that will address the needs of Canadians."
    "We are proud to be a partner in this initiative," says Dr. Suzanne
Fortier, President of NSERC. "This is a complex, multidisciplinary issue.
Involving experts from chemistry, physics, engineering and related fields will
help advance discovery and innovation in this critical area."

    The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of
Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new
scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more
effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian
health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and
support to more than 13,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

    The Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) is a
federal agency whose vision is to help make Canada a country of discoverers
and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports some
26,500 university students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies.
NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 11,800 university professors
every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,400 Canadian
companies to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects.

For further information:

For further information: Josee Bellemare, Press Secretary to the Hon.
Leona Aglukkaq, (613) 957-0200; David Coulombe, CIHR Media Relations, (613)
941-4563; Natasha Gauthier, NSERC Media Relations, (613) 943-8621; Ce document
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