VANCOUVER – Construction has begun on a new cyclotron and radiopharmacy laboratory in Vancouver to increase production of clinical radiotracers.
Radiotracers are the radioactive isotopes used in medical imaging to detect and monitor cancers and increasing access to the technology supports cancer research, improves cancer diagnostics and provides more treatment options to cancer patients, a B.C. government release said.
“By expanding clinical and research radioisotope production, this new facility will improve access to critical diagnostic tests for patients in the coming years, while furthering the groundbreaking research that will transform care and scientific knowledge for generations to come,” said Minister of Health Adrian Dix in a statement.
B.C. is investing $32 million to support this work through $21 million to BC Cancer for the new cyclotron and radiopharmacy laboratory and approximately $11 million to TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator centre at the University of British Columbia, to advance research.
“Once operational, the technology that we can produce in this facility and in partnership with TRIUMF will provide more people with consistent access to the resources they need for life-saving medical scans and further research pursuits that will benefit all Canadians,” BC Cancer senior executive director of research Dr. François Bénard said.
TRIUMF will also receive funding from B.C. to expand its laboratory capacity to support cancer research as the next generation of treatments for cancer and other diseases are developed, the release stated. The facility was founded in 1968 by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria.
The new Vancouver laboratory will increase access to PET/CT scans, which evaluates a body’s organs and tissues at a molecular level, can identify abnormalities in cells, and can show whether a tumour has grown, shrunk or returned.