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McMaster to spearhead collaborative project towards resilient Canadian medical isotope supply chain

Updated: Nov 5, 2020

(TORONTO – August 12, 2020)

In June, the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council (CNIC) and Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) announced a joint study to identify challenges — and evaluate potential technology, logistical, regulatory and policy solutions – facing Canada’s medical isotope supply chain.

Today that partnership took a major leap forward with McMaster University formally agreeing to lead the research and development of the project. Through this initiative, McMaster University will lead the project, defining its scope and undertaking the rigorous analysis while the CNIC and NII will provide oversight, direction and help the university connect with other critical stakeholder organizations that can assist with the project.

“McMaster is well positioned to take the the lead on the project’s research and development, based on our track record of innovation,” said Karen Mossman, Vice-President, Research, McMaster University. “This collaboration with NII and the CNIC allows us to leverage our collective strengths to ensure the appropriate national medical isotope stakeholders are engaged with the project on some level.” While Canada is a leader in the production and global supply of isotopes that play a major role in diagnosing and treating many forms of cancer, the vulnerability of that supply chain persists. Because of the just-in-time delivery and sole-sourced production of some of these critical life-saving isotopes, small disruptions anywhere along the supply chain can have a huge impact on patient care.

“When it comes to this project, it is fundamentally about ensuring that we as Canadians, business leaders, and sector champions are doing all that we can to help make sure that patients have access to critical life-saving isotopes when they are needed,” said James Scongack, Chair of the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council. ‘Working with McMaster and NII on this project will protect these patients, and help us to understand the challenges, opportunities and innovations available to ensure a reliable and robust supply of these life-saving isotopes now and into the future.”

The project will roll out over a multi-phased approach with the initial phase looking to place a value on the cost of supply chain disruptions to patients and the industry. “The decentralized nature of our health care system leaves gaps in statistics and in our understanding of the medical isotope supply chain,” said Bruce Wallace, President and CEO, NII. “It is essential we fill this knowledge gap to demonstrate to Canadians and our governments the vital importance of medical isotopes, and to enhance our ability to ensure a resilient supply of these life-saving products.” The study is scheduled to be released in the fourth quarter of 2020 with a virtual stakeholder update session to be held before the end of September.

About McMaster University Located in Hamilton, Ontario, McMaster University is Canada’s most research- intensive university, and the nation’s preeminent nuclear research institution. The McMaster campus houses a unique suite of world class nuclear research facilities anchored by the McMaster Nuclear Reactor – a multi-purpose research reactor that provides neutrons for medical isotope production and scientific research. McMaster University’s nuclear research facilities enable discoveries in medicine, clean energy, nuclear safety, materials and environmental science, while providing cancer treatments for more than 70,000 patients every year.

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About the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council The Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council (CNIC) is an independent organization consisting of representatives from various levels within the Canadian health sector, nuclear industry and research bodies, convened specifically to advocate for our country’s role in the production of the world’s isotope supply.

For more information please contact: Andrew Thiele Director Strategic Initiatives Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council 226.930.1869

About the Nuclear Innovation Institute The Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides a platform for accelerating the pace of innovation in the nuclear industry. Nuclear energy is a powerful force for decarbonization. It creates good jobs, drives economic growth and produces radioisotopes that are used – among other benefits – for cancer detection and therapies that save lives in Canada and around the world. The Institute is founded on the belief that the industry can enhance these vital contributions by adopting a structured approach to fostering innovation. NII’s goal is to shape a Canadian nuclear industry that embraces new thinking, new technologies and new lines of business that play a central role in the global shift to a low-carbon future.

For more information please contact: Bruce Wallace President Nuclear Innovation Institute 416.520.9746


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