Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Airdrie-Cochrane and the province's infrastructure minister, Peter Guthrie, shared more details about a new radiopharmaceutical centre in Calgary that has entered the design development phase.

The project, which the province stated is fully funded by the provincial government, is currently in the design development stage. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2025, with substantial completion expected in 2027. The new facility will meet Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) standards, enabling the centre to safely store and handle radioactive materials.

"We are proud to be building a new radiopharmaceutical centre in Calgary. Adding a third cyclotron to the province will mean faster testing and treatment for southern Albertans and will provide valuable support for the new Arthur J.E. Child Comprehensive Cancer Centre scheduled to open later this year," Guthrie said.

According to the province, Cyclotrons produce radiopharmaceutical drugs, or radioactive isotopes, used to diagnose and treat many diseases, such as cancer, bone disease, stroke, dementia, and epilepsy.

"There is increasing demand for the use of radiopharmaceutical drugs as a diagnostic tool, and this new facility in Calgary will support faster transportation of the drugs, increasing the capacity of diagnostic testing and treatments available for patients in southern Alberta. Located at the Foothills Medical Centre, this will be Calgary’s first cyclotron."

The province underlined that Cyclotrons are an important component in health care. Alberta currently has two, located at the University of Alberta’s South Campus and the Edmonton Cross Cancer Institute, adding that having a medical cyclotron in Calgary and Edmonton will increase the capacity to develop and produce next-generation radiopharmaceuticals that can identify and target disease precisely.

"The new facility will also spark world-class research into discovering innovative, next-generation radiopharmaceuticals and radiotracers. This is expected to attract researchers, scientists, clinicians and medical experts to Calgary through new opportunities to improve patients' treatments, outcomes and lives."

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health, underlined that the facility will improve Albertans’ access to state-of-the-art care, regardless of where they live.

"The major improvement on the diagnosis, staging and treatment of patients that will come as a result now, and for generations to come, is a win for all Albertans," she said.

The cyclotron at the new Calgary Radiopharmaceutical Centre will be used to develop Fluorine-18, Carbon-11, and Gallium-68, which are isotopes needed for diagnostic imaging scans used to diagnose various diseases. According to the province, Budget 2024 includes $48.4 million over three years towards a total investment of $70 million to develop a cyclotron facility in Calgary.

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