The cyclotron at the University of Saskatchewan has produced its first radioisotope and will soon start supplying patients.
Health Canada has not only approved the isotopes, but the equipment has begun to supply at Royal University Hospital.
“These are tremendous achievements, for the Fedoruk Centre and our cyclotron team, for everyone who has been involved in the cyclotron project at the University of Saskatchewan and our partners in government,” said Neil Alexander, executive director of the Fedoruk Centre which manages the cyclotron. “Most importantly these achievements signal the beginning of the operational life of Saskatchewan’s cyclotron, providing radioisotopes for use by researchers and soon for use by physicians to diagnose Saskatchewan patients.”
Isotopes are used in diagnostic medical scanning and imaging.
The work in Saskatchewan began in 2009 following the shutdown of the Chalk River plant that led to a decrease in the national supply of isotopes.
In 2011, the Saskatchewan government provided $30 million to begin the work. Construction of the facility began in August 2013 and was completed in November 2014.
“As a medical physicist, Dr. Sylvia Fedoruk was the sole female member of the University of Saskatchewan team that first successfully treated a cancer patient with cobalt-60 radiation therapy in 1951,” said Premier Brad Wall in a statement.
He hopes now that innovative work continues.