Lab Canada

Radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility opens at Sunnybrook

Toronto, ON – A new cyclotron and radiopharmaceutical manufacturing facility, opened by ISOLOGIC Innovative Radiopharmaceuticals at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, is expanding access to positron emitting radiopharmaceuticals (PERs), an essential component in molecular imaging commonly referred to as PET imaging.

PET imaging is widely used in other Canadian provinces and worldwide in the diagnosis of cancer, cardiac, and neurological diseases.

The new facility will also provide radioisotope supply and support to molecular imaging research based at Ontario’s many academic and tertiary medical centers and will soon begin production of radiopharmaceuticals to identify components of Alzheimer’s disease to support clinical trials throughout Canada.

“PET scans are increasingly revolutionizing the early diagnosis of many diseases including heart disease and cancer,” said Andre Gagnon, president of ISOLOGIC. “In Canada, over 43,000 patients are administered PET scans every year and this type of imaging is rapidly expanding here and internationally,”

The facility immediately establishes the supply of these short-lived medical isotopes necessary to promote and grow the accessibility of PET imaging in the Greater Toronto Area and throughout Ontario. To date, utilization of PET imaging in Ontario has lagged behind other Canadian provinces and Europe.

The new facility also provides a local solution to a looming crisis that will impact nuclear medicine worldwide.  The supply of medical isotopes is highly dependent on the aging Canadian Chalk River nuclear reactor, which now produces approximately 40 percent of the world’s supply. It is scheduled to close in 2016, potentially affecting the 5,500 nuclear medicine procedures performed in Canada daily.

The facility houses an IBA cyclotron, a particle accelerator with six different targets, imaging agent synthesis modules capable of manufacturing over 10 different PET imaging agents (each with a different disease process to image), and equipment to package and transport the nuclear medicine. A radiopharmaceutical team maintains operation of the facility around the clock and in one day can produce over 100 doses for patients receiving PET scans. Due to the isotopes’ short half-life, ISOLOGIC transport teams deliver the doses directly to imaging centres in the Greater Toronto Area and across western Canada.