May 31, 2016

Cyclotron Cleared to Make Medical Isotopes for Patients

Cyclotron_Cleared_to_Make_Medical_Isotopes.jpg

Our province has a rich history of innovation – air ambulances, snow plows, air seeding, and insulin all got their start here in Saskatchewan. And that tradition continues today.

Saskatchewan continues to be a worldwide leader in key areas like energy, agriculture and medicine that help our province’s industries thrive, and truly make a difference in the lives of people here and around the world.

The latest example is an announcement that the cyclotron at the University of Saskatchewan has been granted permission to start producing radioisotopes for medical use. These isotopes are used in PET-CT scans and can help to identify many types of cancer.

It needs to be acknowledged that when this project was first proposed in 2009, we were in the midst of a global isotope shortage. At the time, our government in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan took action by investing $30 million to help bring the cyclotron to Saskatchewan.

Researchers at the U of S Prostate Imaging Group have already started using medical isotopes in their work studying prostate cancer. Clearance to start making medical isotopes for patients means Royal University Hospital no longer has to rely on isotopes produced outside of the province.

It is disappointing that the NDP doubted the impact of Saskatchewan’s leadership in this project. Much like they didn’t believe in the province’s potential to grow, the NDP also doubted the feasibility of isotope production in Saskatchewan. In fact, the NDP Environment Critic at the time said:

“By all accounts, an isotope reactor doesn’t make sense…”

The NDP was completely wrong then, and the proof is in the results of the great work that the University of Saskatchewan is doing today.

Saskatchewan is becoming known for innovation, setting bold goals, and working to achieve them. Our government is proud to be a partner in this project that will keep our innovation sector strong, and continue Saskatchewan’s leadership in nuclear medicine.

Jeremy Harrison is the MLA for Meadow Lake and serves as Saskatchewan's Minister responsible for Innovation

Harrison__Jeremy.jpg