ARCHIVED - Government of Canada Funds Projects to Diversify Sources of Supply of Key Medical Isotope

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Natural Resources Canada
October 15, 2010

OTTAWA — Today, the Government of Canada announced further action to diversify Canada’s supply sources of the key medical isotope technetium-99 (Tc-99m) with the selection of four projects under the Non-reactor-based Isotope Supply Contribution Program. The $35-million investment is laying the groundwork for a more secure and sustainable supply of Tc-99m in the medium to long term and a reduced reliance on reactor-based production.

“The health and safety of Canadians is a top priority for our Government and investing in these programs will help to ensure that Canadians can rely on a variety of strong and stable sources of medical isotopes for years to come,” said the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources. “This investment will also help position Canada as a global leader in emerging isotope production technologies, allow us to retain and create high-quality jobs, and help reduce the production of radioactive waste that results from reactor-based production.”

The Program supports the development of cyclotron and linear accelerator technologies to better understand their commercial viability and to attract private sector investment. The Report of the Expert Review Panel on Medical Isotope Production, released in December 2009, recommended the diversification of the supply chain and highlighted the potential of cyclotron and linear accelerator technologies.

The projects were assessed according to technical and commercial criteria. Contribution agreements are expected to be in place by the end of 2010.

The Program is part of a $48-million investment in medical isotopes announced by the Government in Budget 2010: Leading the Way on Jobs and Growth. The funding package also included $10 million over two years to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for a clinical trials network to help move research on isotopes and imaging technologies into clinical practice and $3 million over two years to Health Canada to work with stakeholders to optimize the use of medical isotopes in the health system.

The selected projects are being led by Advanced Cyclotron Systems Inc., TRIUMF, Canadian Light Source and the Prairie Isotope Production Enterprise. The project will bring together a broad range of scientific, technological, medical and business expertise from across the country.   

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