TRIUMF and MDS Nordion observed an important milestone in their partnership last week when the two organizations celebrated their 30th anniversary. Representatives from government, business, medicine, and academics gathered at TRIUMF on October 28 to recognize the important contributions that the TRIUMF-Nordion partnership has made to Canadian medical science and international health.
MDS Nordion is the world’s leading supplier of medical isotopes for nuclear medicine with an excellent record as a company, most recently winning awards such as Best Employer for New Canadians. The company exports medical isotopes, radiotherapeutics, and related technologies to over 50 countries. Because of their excellent work, they are a perfect fit with TRIUMF as it expands its own potential for nuclear-medicine research.
TRIUMF and MDS Nordion partnered in order to create a collaborative research and production site for cyclotron-produced isotopes. Over 2.5 million patient doses per year are produced by TRIUMF-Nordion. The collaboration has generated pioneering developments such as producing high-purity iodine-123, used for the management of thyroid cancer as well as imaging cardiac and neurological disorders, as well as a patented high-volume production method for palladium-103, used in treatments for prostate, breast and other cancers. The collaboration also concentrates on developing new types of targets, new calibration sources, and cyclotron enhancements.
In 2004, the TRIUMF-Nordion collaboration received a Synergy Award for Innovation from Science and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC) The award recognizes lasting research and development partnerships between universities and industry, showcasing innovation and the benefits of pooling resources. In referring to the award, Dr. Jean-Michel Poutissou stated, “The partnership has not only been mutually beneficial to both parties, but has also benefited all Canadians with its advanced medical applications,” and his words still hold true four years later.
The afternoon of the event focused on “celebrating the last 30 and the next 30” years of the TRIUMF–Nordion collaboration. Speakers delivered remarks regarding all aspects of the collaboration. From MDS Nordion, Jerry Porter and Steve West observed the cutting edge scientific developments produced through the partnership while TRIUMF’s Nigel Lockyer discussed the importance of collaboration. Richard Lee, a member of the BC Legislative Assembly, commended the two companies as excellent examples of public-private partnerships. The final speaker, Francois Benard from the BC Cancer Agency, explained the use and necessity of radio isotopes for medicine.
The collaboration between TRIUMF and MDS Nordion has been described as “a model of what public-private partnership should be”. With this in mind, both organizations are working to make the next 30 years even better than the last.
TRIUMF's Communications Assistant