Alberta’s government is committed to making sure Albertans have access to the best health care and treatment options available, when and where they need it. Cyclotrons are an important component in health care and Alberta is currently home to two, located at the University of Alberta’s South Campus and at the Edmonton Cross Cancer Institute.

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.

“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.”

Pete Guthrie, Minister of Infrastructure 

Having a medical cyclotron in both Calgary and Edmonton will increase capacity to develop and produce next generation radiopharmaceuticals that will precisely identify and target disease. This technology enables each patient to have personalized diagnosis and treatment.

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

“We are committed to providing world-class health care services in modern facilities built and planned around the needs of Albertans and families. This facility is an exciting addition to our province as it 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.”

Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Health 

“This new facility in Calgary will allow AHS to significantly increase radiopharmaceutical production which is imperative for timely diagnosis and treatment for disease and will attract world-class research programs and ultimately, better patient care.”

Athana Mentzelopoulos, president and CEO, Alberta Health Services

Fully funded by Alberta’s government, the project 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 store and handle radioactive materials safely. 

Quick facts

  • Budget 2024 includes $48.4 million over three years towards a total investment of $70 million for the development of a cyclotron facility in Calgary.
  • In some health care treatments, radioactive agents are given to patients orally, by injection or through inhalation, and collect in certain types of organs or cells. The radioactive products can then be detected by special gamma cameras in PET (positron emission tomography) scanners, helping doctors pinpoint the disease and target treatment.
  • 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.
  • Ongoing consultation and updates with regulatory bodies ensure that all safety, permitting and licensing requirements are met. 
  • The design of the new facility must ensure: 
    • strict security provisions where radioactive material is used;
    • shielding where radioactive material is stored;
    • that radioactive waste is stored and handled in compliance with all applicable regulations; and 
    • all regulatory bodies are consulted, and all permit and licensing requirements are met. 

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