There’s a new partnership to advance medical isotope production to treat prostate cancer being created at Bruce Power.
Bruce Power alongside partners Kinectrics and Framatome will work on cultivating Lutetium – 177.
Lutetium-177 is used in Targeted Radionuclide Therapy to treat cancers like neuroendocrine tumours and prostate cancer. Medical-grade Lutetium is used to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected.
Bruce Power is also a source of Cobalt-60 used for the sterilization of medical equipment around the world as well as a specialized form of cancer treatment called the Gamma Knife.
The partnership will focus on achieving production in 2022 following regulatory and other approvals.
In a press release Bruce Power provides some facts about how Lutetium works.
“An Isotope Production System on a Bruce Power unit can be used to turn targets into medical isotopes through a process referred to as irradiation.”
Lutetium-177 is made by irradiating a stable isotope, Ytterbium-176. The Ytterbium-176 is sealed in special containers and placed in the reactor for about two weeks and then it is sent for processing and distribution to health care facilities. Each container may contain enough Lutetium-177 isotope for about 200 patient treatments.
“This is a very exciting day as we mark the beginning of a new partnership that sets the groundwork for the production of an isotope that treats prostate cancer,” said Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO. “We want to ensure Canada remains at the forefront of global isotope development and production. Today’s announcement is a big step forward.”
This new partnership, in conjunction with Bruce Power’s Life Extension program, helps to create a framework for isotope production until 2064, which is the expected life of the Bruce Power site following its Life Extension Program launched in 2016.
“An average of 11 men die from prostate cancer every day. We’re working with our partners to change that statistic, developing innovative radioisotope treatments,” says Peter Coleridge, President and CEO, Prostate Cancer Canada. “Radioisotopes play a crucial role from diagnosis to treating advanced forms of the disease for which there is no cure. That’s why we’re excited about new treatments in the pipeline that are giving men and their families hope for the future. Together, we can save and improve more lives.”