The Saskatchewan Cyclotron Facility, which is operated by the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation Inc., supports nuclear imaging innovations led by academic and industrial researchers, and manufactures a nuclear imaging pharmaceutical that allows over 2,500 Saskatchewan patients per year to receive PET-CT scans for cancer diagnoses.
Thanks to PrairiesCan funding, the Fedoruk Centre at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) can accelerate the development of new radioisotope products that local Saskatchewan researchers require for developing nuclear imaging or therapeutic ‘radiopharmaceuticals’ for health care.
The funding was announced July 24 at the 11th International Conference on Isotopes (11ICI) taking place July 23-27 in Saskatoon, and produced through a partnership with USask, Discover Saskatoon, and the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation Inc. (Fedoruk Centre).
“For almost a century, Saskatchewan has been home to world-renowned pioneers in nuclear medicine and technology,” said the Honourable Dan Vandal, Minister for PrairiesCan. “The federal government is building on years of support to this sector with additional funding for the Fedoruk Centre and the 11th International Conference of Isotopes, both of which help raise Canada’s profile in scientific research and development, and attract scientists, industry leaders, and investors to our world class educational institutions and scientific facilities.”
“Our government is proud to support the Fedoruk Centre, including the development of three nuclear imaging products,” said Parliamentary Secretary Pam Damoff. “Canada is a world leader in medical isotopes, and this investment helps meet market needs, enabling enhanced research and development, clinical trials, and applications for cancer diagnosis and treatment within Saskatchewan and beyond.”
Many radioisotope products have shelf lives of minutes or hours, which means their potency is lost during shipping. They must be made locally to be effective for research or clinical applications.
“There are people in our community, young scientists, who want to broaden their research impacts, but they need these basic isotopes and radiochemicals to expand their programs of innovation. They would like to address new diseases and invent new imaging or therapeutic methods but need the raw materials to do so,” said John Root, executive director of the Fedoruk Centre.
The federal funding from PrairiesCan will support the development of products for health-care research. These raw materials will be applied to develop novel cancer-imaging probes, support clinical trials, and enhance therapies within Saskatchewan and beyond.
The project will establish a local capability to manufacture three products: Gallium -Chloride, Sodium-Fluoride, and Fluorine-Prostate-specific membrane antigen, directly responding to demands from facility users for a localized source of these products.
“We are honouring the work of Sylvia Fedoruk here by enabling Saskatchewan researchers to continue working at the leading edge in diagnosing and treating cancer with disease-specific nuclear imaging tools,” said Root.
“Thanks to PrairiesCan, we can deploy the necessary resources quickly and establish the new production capability within two years,” said Root.
Along with the $410,650 investment, PrairiesCan is also a sponsor of the 11th International Conference of Isotopes. The conference is a multifaceted interdisciplinary exchange between the developers and producers of isotopes and apply isotopes in medicine, industry, agriculture, national security, and other fields.