B.C. Health Minister says investment in nuclear medicine will expand cancer care

New funding for cancer care

The British Columbia government is spending $32 million in advancement of nuclear medicine, to operate imaging equipment for cancer diagnosis and to expand research.

The announcement comes just two years after a worldwide shortage of isotopes used in medical imaging machines that detect and monitor cancers.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says construction is underway in Vancouver for a $21-million cyclotron and radiopharmacy laboratory to increase the production of radioactive isotopes, used in equipment that conducts PET and CT scans.

Dix says the the equipment is a “critical tool” in fighting cancer and will help to ensure all patients in B.C. have “timely access” to the care they need.

The expanded access is part of B.C.'s 10-year cancer-care plan, and with a growing and aging population, Dix says the demand for cancer-care services is surging.

Another $11 million in funding will go to the Triumf research centre, located at the University of B.C., to advance research in nuclear medicine.

Nigel Smith, CEO of the Triumf facility, says establishing expertise in cyclotron operations and isotope research "will have a profound impact in improving care for B.C. patients and positioning our province as the driving force in Canada's nuclear medicine research ecosystem."

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