A coalition of Canadian science, health care and nuclear sector organizations have launched a new council to ensure Canada remains a world leader in the production of life saving Isotopes by raising awareness and supporting long-term policies at the domestic and international level.

Since 1940, Canada has been a global leader in producing isotopes used to save lives through medical imaging, cancer therapy, sterilization and diagnostic development. The demand for a reliable supply of these critical isotopes continues to grow as advancements in health care continue and jurisdictions seek to secure fair access to diagnostic and treatments for patients as sterilization is recognized as critical to clean hospitals and infection control.

“For decades, the world has looked to Canada as a source of health care innovation and a reliable supply of isotopes to diagnose and treat some of the most serious medical conditions, while also supplying critical sterilization isotopes to keep hospitals and medical facilities clean and safe,” said James Scongack, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs and Environment at Bruce Power. “Our Council of leaders in health care, energy and academia have come together because we believe this is a critical role people in Canada and around the world are counting on us to play in the years to come.”

Medical isotopes are an important part of Canada’s innovation agenda, and beyond medicine, the nuclear sector contributes to a wide range of other scientific and economic activities, including energy, human health and safety, material testing, food safety, and even space exploration.

“Brain tumour patients have few treatment options. One option is Gamma Knife technology which is dependent on medical isotopes,” said Susan Marshall, CEO of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. “We know many brain tumour patients who have received this treatment to stop their brain tumour from growing and, in some cases, even shrink their tumour, allowing them to continue their lives without the trauma of more invasive brain surgery.  We are excited to participate in this Council as it will provide more hope in the form of innovative treatments for brain tumour patients in the future.”

Canada’s nuclear innovations save millions of lives every year in more than 80 countries. By leveraging a strategic national alliance from Canada’s nuclear, health care and academic sectors, effective policies and awareness can be brought to this critical international role Canada plays.

“Ontario has been a leader in radioisotope production and has fostered an innovative industry that creates high-value jobs, research and development opportunities,” said Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “By promoting and supporting this area of the science and healthcare sector we will ensure that Ontario remains at the forefront of nuclear medicine, providing treatments that improve our quality of life and strengthen our economy at home.”

The Government of Canada and the bipartisan Standing Committee on Natural Resources recently declared Ontario’s nuclear innovations a success story, recognizing the critical role that radioisotopes play in the global community, and stated its intention to work with industry, healthcare community and provincial/territorial governments to ensure that the Canadian supply of radioisotopes is brought to the next level.

“For decades, the nuclear industry in Canada has played a crucial role in the healthcare sector globally through the production of life-saving radioisotopes,” said Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources. “This council will help ensure Canada remains at the forefront of research and innovation in the rapidly advancing field of nuclear medicine.”

“Millions of Canadians receive radiopharmaceuticals annually for a wide variety of medical procedures ranging from the assessment of cardiac function to staging and treatment of cancer,” said Dr. Joe McCann, COO of the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization. “Canada is continuously demonstrating groundbreaking discoveries in this field and the world has come to rely on our expertise and innovation.”

Key Facts:

  • Nuclear technology saves lives through use of radioisotopes for screening, diagnosis and therapy of various medical conditions
  • Canadian scientists were the pioneers in a number of nuclear applications
  • In 1951, the world’s first cancer treatment with radiation took place in London, Ontario. This marked an important milestone for both the fight against cancer and Canada’s emergence as a leader in the field of nuclear power.
  • With the development of Canadian radioisotopes, the cure rate for cervical cancer went from 25% to 75%.
  • The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission licenses the use and production of over 250 radioisotopes in Canada.
  • Across Canada, about 20,000 patients undergo nuclear imaging procedures every week and the field of nuclear medicine is growing around the world.
  • 1.5 million nuclear diagnostic scans are performed each year in Canada.
  • 15,000 therapeutic doses are administered each year in Canada.
  • The global business of medical isotopes is $4 billion, projecting to grow up to 5% every year.
  • Radioisotopes are used to preserve seeds and food products and breed disease-resistant plants.
  • Irradiation technology is increasingly being used to preserve food – spices, grains, fruit, vegetables and meat. This technology avoids the use of potentially harmful chemical fumigants and insecticides
  • In industrial radiography, nuclear substances are used for the non-destructive examination and testing of new materials. Radiation from the substances passes through the material and allows defects in welds or constituency to be recorded on film or a digital imager.

About the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council

The CNIC is a coalition of science, healthcare and nuclear sector organizations to ensure Canada remains a world leader in the production of life saving Isotopes by bringing awareness and supporting long-term policies at the domestic and international level that will save countless lives and support health care innovation for decades to come.

To learn more about the CNIC visit www.CanadianIsotopes.ca

Founding Members of the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council include:

Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada
Bruce Power
Framatome
Nordion
Canadian Nuclear Association
SNC-Lavalin
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
International Irradiation Association
Ontario Association of Nuclear Medicine
BWXT
Isotopen Technologien
Ontario Power Generation
Cameco
CanProbe
Laker Energy
Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries
Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine
Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization
NB Power

For more information:
Michael Sung
647.470.7411
michael.sung@canadianisotopes.ca