Cyclotron and processing facility

Background

Eastern Health’s cyclotron is located at the Nuclear and Molecular Medicine facility (Health Sciences Centre). Production of 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose, commonly referred to as FDG, began at the Health Sciences Centre in November 2020. The product FDG is used in positron emission tomography, commonly known as PET scans. To learn more about PET scans, including frequently asked questions, please visit the PET Scan webpage.

The radiopharmaceutical sciences (RPS) team is responsible for manufacturing medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals through the use of a cyclotron (particle accelerator).

Eastern Health holds a Class II license for the operation of the cyclotron, issued by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

Cyclotron commissioning

Eastern Health follows the safety guidelines issued by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to ensure that all individuals are kept safe during the commissioning process. The two principal federal regulatory agencies involved are the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CSNC) and Health Canada.

In August 2020, Eastern Health completed commissioning of the cyclotron particle accelerator and its first medical radioisotope, FDG. This milestone marked the beginning of the facility’s ability to produce radiopharmaceuticals for use in medicine and research.

Facility updates

On September 22, 2021, RPS achieved its 100th clinical production of 18F-FDG, with 1,174 patients receiving the locally produced radiopharmaceutical for their PET/CT scan. The 100th production of 18F-FDG is a major step towards a more reliable PET service for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Contact information

Email: cyclotron.safety@easternhealth.ca

Public disclosure protocol

The following items are communicated via the public disclosure protocol: 

  • Annual Compliance and Annual Radiation Safety Public Disclosure Report Summary;
  • items of concern (e.g.: impact of natural events, unplanned significant interruptions of facility operations); and
  • licensing information. 

Reports

Additional information

Routine preventative maintenance:

The cyclotron, which produces FDG for PET-CT procedures, underwent routine preventative maintenance from July 25 to August 7, 2021. The impact to the clinical program was minimal as additional PET procedures were performed prior to and following the maintenance period.

Loss of utility:

The Nuclear and Molecular Medicine facility experienced a loss of utility on the following dates:

  • Saturday, March 27, 2021
  • Sunday, August 8, 2021
  • Friday, August 20, 2021
  • Saturday, September 11, 2021
  • Sunday, December 5, 2021 (planned outage)

There were no impacts to patients or the environment, or safety concerns associated with the loss of utility occurrences.

IT Systems Outage

The production of radiopharmaceuticals was affected due to the October 30, 2021, cyber-attack that impacted health-care information technology (IT) systems across the province. Regular operations resumed on November 22, 2021. Information was shared on an ongoing basis via the IT Systems Outage webpage and News Centre.

Eastern Health reported this event to the CNSC, as required. While the outage resulted in an unanticipated disruption in the delivery of care for patients, licensed equipment (although non-operational) and nuclear substances at the facility, remained safe during this time.

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Last updated: 2021-12-15