The B.C. government is investing $32 million in cancer diagnostics and research with new equipment and expanded PET/CT scan access.
B.C. government officials said construction is underway for a new cyclotron and radiopharmacy laboratory in Vancouver.
This is meant to boost the production of clinical radiotracers, the radioactive isotopes used in medical imaging to detect and monitor cancers.
Officials said improving access to this technology will support cancer research and diagnostics and provide more treatment options.
“Ensuring people in B.C. have access to PET/CT scans and world-class cancer care is a critical part of our Province’s 10-year cancer-care action plan, and we are committed to investing in these life-saving technologies and research,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “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.”
Additionally, the B.C. government will give funding to TRIUMF to expand its laboratory capacity to support cancer research.
TRIUMF is Canada’s particle accelerator centre, based in Vancouver, which aids in research across multiple disciplines, including health care.
“Our strong partnerships along with the passion and drive for research excellence are a solid foundation on which we continue to grow our infrastructure,” said David Byres, president and chief executive officer, Provincial Health Services Authority. “The cyclotron and radiopharmacy laboratories will increase our capacity to deliver on the priorities laid out in B.C.’s 10-year cancer action plan, strengthen cancer-care services and accelerate diagnostics and treatments for people in B.C.”
B.C. government officials said TRIUMF and BC Cancer researchers and staff will use the Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes’ new cyclotron and radiopharmacy laboratories to produce clinical radiotracers.
“A growing area of research and innovation is to use radioisotopes for targeted radiopharmaceutical therapies as they can be harnessed to deliver radiation treatment directly to cancer cells with minimal impact on nearby healthy tissues,” said the B.C. government.
$21 million of the B.C. government’s $32 million investment will go to BC Cancer, while approximately $11 million will go to TRIUMF.
“These investments in the Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes, which leverage TRIUMF’s world-class research community and over five decades of established expertise in cyclotron operations and isotope research, will have a profound impact in improving care for B.C. patients and positioning our province as the driving force in Canada’s nuclear medicine research ecosystem,” said Nigel Smith, executive director and CEO, TRIUMF.
Officials said construction is expected to be complete in 2025 and equipment installation, commissioning and Health Canada licensing to come in 2026.