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).
Eastern Health follows the safety guidelines issued by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to ensure that all individuals are kept safe during all facility operations. 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 radiopharmaceutical, FDG. This milestone marked the beginning of the facility’s ability to produce radiopharmaceuticals for use in medicine and research.
March 15, 2023: RPS achieved its 300th clinical production of 18F-FDG, with 3,714 patients receiving the locally produced radiopharmaceutical for their PET/CT scan. The 300th production of 18F-FDG is another major step towards a more reliable PET service for all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
October 17, 2022: RPS performed its first clinical preparation of Gallium Dotatate (68Ga-Dotatate) via a Netspot cold kit. This locally prepared radiopharmaceutical is used in PET scans performed for the diagnosis and management of neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Patients across the province can now benefit from receiving this type of PET scan at the Nuclear and Molecular Medicine facility.
This success marks the second radiopharmaceutical being produced or prepared at the cyclotron and processing facility. 18F-FDG is produced on-site using the cyclotron, while 68Ga-Dotatate is prepared on-site using a Netspot cold kit and Gallium generator.
Public disclosure protocol
The following items are communicated via the public disclosure protocol:
- Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Radiation Safety Public Disclosure Program Report 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.
- Eastern Health – Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Radiation Safety Public Disclosure Program Report (January 1, 2022 to March 17, 2023) (PDF)
Routine preventative maintenance:
The cyclotron, which produces radiotracers for PET-CT procedures, receives routine preventative maintenance twice annually to ensure safe and effective operations. This maintenance is scheduled months in advance to minimize the impact to the clinical program.
In 2023, routine maintenance occurred during the following dates:
- February 20 to March 3, 2023
- July 24 to August 6, 2023
Loss of utility:
The Nuclear and Molecular Medicine facility experienced a loss of utility on the following date in 2023:
- Sunday, July 9, 2023
There were no impacts to the environment, or safety concerns associated with this loss of utility occurrence.
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.