Medical isotopes have caught the attention of the Canadian public, political process, and media. TRIUMF has a long history with nuclear medicine and medical isotopes.
Medical isotopes allow clinicians to see what is happening inside the body non-invasively and in real-time at a molecular level. Canada has a dominant position in the roughly $4 billion global business of medical isotopes contributing more than 50% of the world's "raw material" isotope supply. The business is projected to grow steadily at 1%-4% a year for a decade. Canada has the potential to be a leader not only in the next generation of raw material medical isotopes, but also in developing added-value isotopes that will drive market growth with substantially enhanced capabilities. If Canada does not aggressively maintain its market position, this growing business (and its direct impact on health and wellness) will slip away from Canada.
Learn about CycloMed99—the team creating an alternate way of producing medical isotopes using cyclotrons instead of nuclear reactors.
Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) is the most commonly used radioisotope in nuclear medicine, accounting for 80% of all nuclear medicine procedures worldwide. Used for diagnosing cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson's, Technetium-99m is the world standard for medical imaging.
Canada's Chalk River reactor produces about 40% of the global supply of Tc-99m. However, it will cease operators in 2018, potentially creating a supply shortfall and interrupting isotope supplies to Canada and the world.