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Nuclear researchers produce the rarest drug on Earth

In September, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and TRIUMF announced they were teaming up on the commercial production of what’s been called “the rarest drug on earth.”

Actinium-225 is an alpha-emitting isotope with a short half-life that can be combined with a protein or antibody that specifically targets cancer cells. It has shown promise in experimental uses on late stage cancer patients to kills cancer cells.

Each year, the entire world only makes an amount equal to the weight of a few grains of sand.

The TRIUMF cyclotron centre in Vancouver had been discarding substantial amounts of Ac-225 for years, unaware of its potential.

Under terms of the partnership, TRIUMF’s high energy proton beam will be used to manufacture the isotope, while CNL’s nuclear-licensed handling and production facilities will be used to process the material.

The partnership could see an increase of hundreds of thousands of treatments globally, according to Triumf.

“We are delighted to partner with CNL on this important initiative, which has the potential to transform the lives of people who suffer from untreatable cancers,” said Kathryn Hayashi, Chief Executive Officer of TRIUMF Innovations, the laboratory’s commercialization arm, in a statement.

“This agreement will allow TRIUMF to leverage one of our core assets, the 520 MeV cyclotron, and our scientists and engineers, to produce this isotope on a scale that would enable more clinical development to make treatment available for patients with a wide spectrum of cancers that we can’t fight effectively using today’s technologies.”

“With over one billion medical treatments conducted using isotopes produced at the Chalk River Laboratories, CNL has served as a global leader in nuclear medicine for decades,” said Mark Lesinski, President and CEO of CNL, in a statement. “We view this agreement with TRIUMF as a natural evolution of this work, which will require industry-tested proficiencies in target manufacturing, radiochemistry, radioisotope analysis, and nuclear and chemical by-product management.

CNL and TRIUMF also recently announced that they will co-host the 11th Targeted-Alpha-Therapy Symposium (TAT11), a global forum for academic and industry leaders to meet and discuss the latest technical, regulatory and clinical developments in targeted radiopharmaceutical therapy. The event will be held in April 2019 in Ottawa.

CNA2019

The promise of SMRs and energy communities panel at CNA2019

Top to bottom: Bernd Christmas, Mark Lesinski, Madeleine Redfern

On Friday, March 1, at 10:30 a.m., Bernd Christmas, Mark Lesinski, and Madeleine Redfern will gather onstage at CNA2019 to discuss new nuclear, the promise of SMRs and energy communities.

New Nuclear holds the promise of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and how these may be integrated with other sources, such as Variable Renewable Energy, to create energy parks or “hybrid” energy communities. What kind of scenarios can we foresee for smart, integrated/hybrid energy systems, with SMRs providing the load-following foundation? Will such ideas be a defining characteristic of New Nuclear?

Bernd Christmas is the Chief Executive Officer of Gitpo Storms Corporation, a national Indigenous firm. He is also a member of Investors Group Board of Directors and the President of Outside Looking In. He is a recognized and accomplished leader in the Indigenous and business communities. He was the first Mi’kmaw to become a lawyer in Canada.

Mark Lesinski is President and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory managed by the Canadian National Energy Alliance (CNEA). He has a distinguished career in nuclear science, operations, projects, and decommissioning. His 38 years of experience spans commercial and government nuclear facilities, from power reactor operations and major retrofit projects to management of decontamination and decommissioning (D&D).

Madeleine Redfern is the mayor of the City of Iqaluit. She was elected mayor in a by-election on December 13, 2010. Redfern graduated from the Akitsiraq Law School before becoming the first Inuk to be offered a clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada.

For more information about CNA2019 visit https://cna.ca/cna2019/.