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Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research Partnering with TRIUMF to Deliver Solutions to Medical Isotope Shortage

The Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC) and Advanced Applied Physics Solutions (AAPS) are partnering with TRIUMF to deliver solutions to the medical isotope shortage.

CPDC is part of a national team of experts, led by TRIUMF, working to demonstrate that commercially available cyclotrons can be used to make the key medical isotope technetium-99m, which is currently manufactured using nuclear reactors. CPDC, with expertise in radiochemistry, imaging agent development, quality control and commercialization, will validate the process to upgrade a GE cyclotron at McMaster University to produce technetium-99m. Such GE cyclotrons are widely used in radiopharmaceutical production to make a range of isotopes for use in positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. A universal process to upgrade cyclotrons for technetium production will enable hospitals to manufacture the isotope locally and reduce dependence on centralized reactor-based production sites.

AAPS is building on the strong foundation of TRIUMF’s internationally recognized expertise in particle accelerators and has developed expertise in the business side of medical isotopes. The centre played a role in the development of this TRIUMF-led team’s proposal to Natural Resources Canada, and it is exploring the development of a technology that supplies a crucial material for this new approach.

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A CPDC engineer inspects a target on the new GE cyclotron at McMaster University. This device is being used in a national project to demonstrate that the key medical isotope, technetium-99m, can be made locally in hospitals and clinics rather than by conventional means from nuclear reactors.

CPDC technicians work in a clean room to manufacture radiopharmaceuticals using medical isotopes produced in the onsite cyclotron. These radioactive drugs are used to diagnose and treat many diseases including cancer.