The Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation is Changing Everything
Named after a pioneer in nuclear medicine, university professor and chancellor, and Saskatchewan’s 17th Lieutenant Governor, the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (Fedoruk Centre) was established in 2011 to move Saskatchewan to the forefront of nuclear research and innovation. The Fedoruk Centre builds partnerships with universities and industry for the benefit of our province, our economy and our society. “We aim to create opportunities for young researchers to work at the leading edges of nuclear science and technology, building Saskatchewan expertise to inform decision-makers and to hold respectful public conversations on topics in the nuclear domain,” says John Root, executive director, Fedoruk Centre.
The Centre’s Work
The Centre’s mission is centred around research support for nuclear innovation and technology. The Fedoruk Centre engages in activities to deliver value to the society and support economic growth in three target areas: nuclear imaging tools to advance life sciences, material sciences to improve energy, health and transportation, and capacity to address the practical and social aspects of nuclear energy towards a clean sustainable future. To meet these goals, the organization funds programs to establish multidisciplinary academic clusters and projects that support the research and development of Saskatchewan-based scientists in the nuclear domain. The Fedoruk Centre also operates the Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences (SCCS), a world-class facility for nuclear imaging, discovery and innovation at the University of Saskatchewan.
These state-of-the-art facilities, with an expert supporting team, are accessible by academic and industrial users to advance technologies in agriculture, health and the environment through nuclear imaging. Finally, the Centre provides consultative services, acquiring resources for the public and policymakers to grow partnerships and develop businesses that strengthen Saskatchewan’s presence as a leader in nuclear research, development and training.
Innovation and Opportunity
From the research at the Fedoruk Centre comes the opportunity for commercialization. “We support the work of Drs. Ron Geyer and Humphrey Fonge who co-founded the USask Centre for Biologic Imaging Research and Development (C-BIRD), which is developing the next generation of molecular imaging agents for cancer diagnosis,” says Root. “C-BIRD collaborates with industry, government and academic researchers to advance molecular imaging agents and therapeutics.” Innovative research expands beyond the limits of the molecular imaging. The research group led by Dr. Ekaterina Dadachova, USask professor and Fedoruk Chair, uses radioimmunotherapy to treat melanoma, pancreatic cancer and osteosarcoma. Her group pioneered its application for treatment of fungal and bacterial infections and HIV.
As well, the SCCS facility (certified by Health Canada) is the manufacturing and supply centre for a nuclear imaging agent (called FDG) that is required in hospitals to diagnose cancer by PET-CT scanning. Every early morning, the Centre’s highly qualified staff ships the sensitive radiopharmaceutical not only to Saskatchewan but as far as Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg. The staff works against the clock; with a half life of 110 min, half of the imaging agent will disappear in less than two hours. The valuable radiopharmaceuticals arrive around 7:00 am for patient scans throughout the day. Clinical diagnoses are provided to over 2,000 patients per year with the FDG manufactured by the Fedoruk Centre in Saskatoon.
How to Get Involved
Scientists are currently using the SCCS in many ways: to acquire selected isotopes, radiochemicals and radiopharmaceuticals; to handle radiochemicals safely in discovery research; to administer nuclear imaging agents to living animals or plants; and perform PET-CT imaging for preclinical research or to advance agricultural technologies. “We are open to business including the supply of radiopharmaceuticals, user-access to our facility for proprietary research and collaborative capability development,” says Root. “We can offer technical expertise to support you in your research, development or commercial project and help you achieve your goals, while ensuring that safety, regulatory compliance and quality assurance are maintained.”
“We welcome feedback and innovative ideas,” says Dr. Lidia Matei, Corporate Business Officer. “If you have a project, an idea or you need advice related to nuclear science and technology contact me at (306) 966 3379 or by email at Lidia.Matei@fedorukcentre.ca.”
For more information, visit fedorukcentre.ca.