Canada funds cyclotron, linear accelerator projects

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The Government of Canada has diversified Canada’s supply sources of the key medical isotope technetium-99m with a $35-million investment and the selection of four projects under the Non-reactor-based Isotope Supply Contribution Program.

The program supports the development of cyclotron and linear accelerator technologies to better understand their commercial viability and to attract private sector investment. The report of the review panel on medical isotope production, released in December 2009, recommended the diversification of the supply chain and highlighted the potential of cyclotron and linear accelerator technologies.

The program is part of a $48 million investment in medical isotopes announced by the Canadian government in the 2010 budget. The funding package also included $10 million over two years to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for a clinical trials network to help move research on isotopes and imaging technologies into clinical practice and $3 million over two years to Health Canada to work with stakeholders to optimize the use of medical isotopes in the health system.

Contribution agreements are expected to be in place by the end of 2010 and the selected projects are being led by Advanced Cyclotron Systems, Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics-TRIUMF, Canadian Light Source and the Prairie Isotope Production Enterprise.