Budget 2021: New cyclotron for southern Alberta

Calgary’s first cyclotron and a new radiopharmaceutical facility will improve access to diagnostic tests and treatment for cancer, cardiac and neurological conditions.

The project, kick-started with $18.6 million over three years in Budget 2021, will allow Calgary to produce its own consistent supply of radiopharmaceuticals – a special class of drug that can help diagnose and treat many types of cancers, bone disease, strokes, epilepsy or dementia.

Quick facts

  • A cyclotron is a machine that produces radioisotopes (radioactive atoms). This technology is used in medicine for medical imaging, therapy, and research and is vital to cancer care and treatment.
  • The entire Calgary project is expected to cost about $50 million and will replace the Calgary Radiopharmaceutical Centre, which needs upgrades to meet existing standards.
  • Currently, Alberta’s cyclotron at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton must send the specialized product to Calgary. Because these drugs have short half-lives and degrade along the journey, only 25 per cent of what arrives can be used in hospitals, patients and imaging scanners.
  • The Edmonton Radiopharmaceutical Centre at the Cross Cancer Institute is moving to the new Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility south of the cancer institute. That new facility is expected to receive Health Canada approval by summer 2022. The Edmonton Radiopharmaceutical Centre provides radiopharmaceuticals for clinical use in patients in Edmonton and across Alberta.
  • Once the new Edmonton facility is complete and open, the cyclotron at the Cross Cancer Institute will focus on research advancements.
  • Having cyclotrons in Calgary and Edmonton producing medical products for patient use will ensure Alberta has a consistent supply during regular maintenance shutdowns each year.

Learn more

Related news