A cyclotron is a particle accelerator used to produce radioactive isotopes for a medical drug called radiopharmaceuticals.

These radiopharmaceuticals are used to diagnose and treat numerous diseases, such as epilepsy, dementia, stroke, cancer, and bone disease.

Currently, there are two Cyclotrons in Alberta, and both are in Edmonton, but a third is coming to Calgary.

This third facility will be located at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, and will help make tackle the increasing demand for the use of radiopharmaceutical drugs as a diagnostic tool, and will increase the number of diagnostic testing and treatments available in Southern Alberta, as well as supporting faster transportation of the drugs.

"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," explained the Minister of Infrastructure, Pete Guthrie in a media release on June 19th.

With multiple cyclotrons in Alberta now, they will be able to help develop and create the next generation of radiopharmaceuticals that will be able to precisely identify and target diseases, making it so each patient will have a unique, personalized diagnosis and treatment.

The provincial government is hoping this new facility will attract scientists, researchers, medical experts, and clinicians to the Calgary region through new opportunities to help improve treatments and the lives of patients, as well as sparking new research into the next generation of radiopharmaceuticals and radiotracers.

This new facility will be fully funded by the Alberta government, but is currently still in the design stage.

It's anticipated that construction will begin in 2025, with the majority of the work being completed by 2027.

Once complete, the facility will meet the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) standards, meaning the centre is able to store and handle radioactive materials properly and safely.

Of the $70 million in total investment to get this facility built, $48.4 million came from Budget 2024 and will spread out over three years.

To learn more about the new radiopharmaceutical centre in Calgary, click here.