Saskatoon·New

Saskatoon cyclotron cleared to start making medical isotopes for patients

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have been granted permission to start making radioisotopes for medical use.

Isotopes now being used by researchers at University of Saskatchewan

Medical isotopes are used in medical scanners like this one. (Canadian Press)

Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have been granted permission to start making radioisotopes for medical use.

Medical isotopes are used in PET-CT scans, and can help identify many types of cancer.

In the past, medical isotopes have had to be flown in from suppliers outside of the province. However, after years of work, the material can now be produced in Saskatchewan.

However, after years of work, researchers at the university have developed a way to produce the material in Saskatchewan.

"These are tremendous achievements, for the Fedoruk Centre and our cyclotron team, for everyone who has been involved in the cyclotron project," said Neil Alexander, executive director of the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation.

While Saskatoon's Royal University Hospital will start using the isotopes on patients next month, researchers at the U of S Prostate Imaging Group have already started using them in their work in studying prostate cancer.

The isotopes are created by irradiating material with a beam of particles created by the cyclotron. Then, the isotopes are joined to drug molecules, which are then injected into a patient.

Construction of the $25-million facility started in 2013, and was finished in November 2014.