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Philanthropy is the Foundation for Advanced Cancer Care

February 9, 2024

Sarah Roth announcing the construction on the new cyclotron and radiopharmacy lab in Vancouver

Construction is underway on a new state-of-the-art cyclotron and radiopharmacy laboratory in Vancouver that will increase access to PET/CT scans for patients across the province — and position B.C. as a global leader in theranostics, a field poised to transform the future of cancer care.

The BC Cancer Foundation is proud to be providing $3.5 million to support the project which will enhance collaboration between two leading research organizations: BC Cancer and TRIUMF, Canada’s particle accelerator centre.

TRIUMF is a collaboration of 21 Canadian universities that includes more than 600 multidisciplinary researchers, engineers, technicians, tradespeople, staff and students to create a unique incubator for Canadian excellence in particle and nuclear physics.

Located in TRIUMF’s Institute for Advanced Medical Isotopes (IAMI) — a first-of-its-kind-in-Canada nuclear medicine hub which to date has received $18.5 million in BC Cancer Foundation support — the new cyclotron will become one of just a few facilities in the world able to produce the specific radioactive atom needed in radiopharmaceuticals.

These radioactive particles are essential for PET/CT scans, which help physicians more accurately diagnose and manage disease, and are an effective method for delivering radiation therapy directly to the site of the metastatic cancer while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.

The new cyclotron will allow BC Cancer to expand its research in theranostics (a combination of therapeutics and diagnostics), a one-two punch against cancer that acts like a homing device to seek out tumour cells and deliver highly precise treatment.

A game-changer in medicine, theranostics saves time and money, spares patients harmful life-altering side effects and is showing incredible promise in saving the lives of metastatic patients.

The project realizes the vision of the many BC Cancer Foundation donors who have long supported bringing this cutting-edge care to patients in B.C. One of which, a 59-year-old father who endured three and a half years of unsuccessful grueling treatment before losing his life to prostate cancer. His three kids might still have their father today had he had access to this new technology and treatment.

“This is yet another example of the power of philanthropy to advance both our ability to better diagnose patients and provide precision treatments that improve outcomes, we are so grateful to our donor community for supporting this important technology,” says BC Cancer Foundation President & CEO Sarah Roth.

To learn more about the increased access to life-saving cancer care the new cyclotron and radiopharmacy in Vancouver will provide please contact Fatima Hassam at 604.877.6226 or fatima.hassam@bccancer.bc.ca

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