Isotopes for Hope: Canada’s leadership imperative – doubling our production of medical isotopes by 2030

There are many times in our lives when we come to realize that there is nothing more important than our health. This also includes the health of our loved ones, colleagues, neighbours and fellow Canadians. While this statement will certainly elicit different thoughts and emotions from each of us, what is common is our dependence on modern health care when faced with some of the most difficult circumstances and health challenges.

James Scongack, Chair of the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council (2nd L) met with Premier Doug Ford on Isotopes for Hope Campaign to Double Canada’s production of Medical Isotopes by 2030.

For over a half century, Canada has been a world leader in the production, distribution and development of medical isotopes. These isotopes are essentially the energy used in modern health care to ensure medical equipment is clean and safe for use and to diagnose and treat cancer. Looking ahead we can, must and will do more.

That’s why the Canadian Nuclear Isotope Council – a Not-for-Profit organization representing over 75 organizations across Canada – launched its Isotopes for Hope Campaign to advocate, enable, and support solutions to double our Isotope Production by 2030 and further expand multiple opportunities. To achieve this, we will need to further integrate between all levels of government, regulators and the private sector across Canada to ensure we have the agility and focus to realize this once in a generation opportunity.

The COVID-19 pandemic worsened pre-existing fractures in the global health care system, leading to overloaded hospitals and procedure backlogs. For patients, a delayed test or postponed procedure can significantly impact their prognosis. Our health care system must be equipped with the necessary tools to rapidly connect patients with life-saving procedures.

Nuclear medicine and radiopharmaceuticals are used in various medical applications: from diagnostic imaging scans to quickly assess diseases; to treating illnesses like cancer by providing a precise, targeted dose of radiation directly to a tumour; to sterilizing devices like masks, gloves, syringes, and implantable devices.

Traditional cancer treatments require multiple hospital visits, longer stays, and lengthy recoveries. Existing and enhanced treatments using medical isotopes provide non-invasive often more effective treatment options that entail shorter treatment durations and fewer hospital visits overall that can also help alleviate strain, free up bed space, and ensure fewer return visits.

For these reasons, the demand for nuclear isotopes is expected to double by 2030 and Canada is uniquely placed with our existing infrastructure and capabilities to continue to play a leading role in a world hungry for modern health care solutions. The world is counting on Canada now more than ever and that’s why its time to come together with a national focus to deliver on this promise. The world is counting on us.