Bruce Power to explore production of cancer-fighting medical isotope yttrium-90 for global distribution

Monday, October 03, 2022

Bruce Power announced today that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Boston Scientific to explore the feasibility of producing cancer-fighting yttrium-90 (Y-90) in its reactors.

The company, already a leading producer of cobalt-60, which is used to sterilize approximately 40 per cent of the world’s single-use medical devices, is exploring expansion of its production of cancer-fighting medical isotopes.

“The growing global demand for medical isotopes is our opportunity to cement Ontario’s leadership in this innovative space. I’m proud of our progress and excited for the future. Medical isotopes save lives and Ontario is primed to become an isotope superpower,” said Ontario’s Energy Minister Todd Smith.

Production of Yttrium-90

TheraSphere™ Y-90 Glass Microspheres, manufactured by Boston Scientific, are a targeted liver cancer therapy consisting of millions of microscopic, irradiated Y-90 glass microspheres used to treat hepatic malignancies. Through this collaboration, Bruce Power will play a critical role in ensuring Boston Scientific customers and their patients have dependable access to a reliable, made-in-Canada supply of TheraSphere devices, which are currently distributed to 30 countries.

“Each year, liver cancer is diagnosed in more than 800,000 people globally, and for those treated with TheraSphere, timely production and distribution of each device is critical,” said Peter Pattison, President, Interventional Oncology & Embolization, Peripheral Interventions, Boston Scientific. “We are pleased to have the support of Bruce Power to expand our network of reliable supply chain channels, which enables us to continue to help more patients around the world in their fight against liver cancer through precise and effective Y-90 therapy.”

Production of Lutetium-177

Additionally, Bruce Power will soon become the first nuclear power reactor operator to commercially produce lutetium-177 through an innovative Isotope Production System (IPS). The IPS, designed and manufactured by Isogen (a partnership between Kinectrics and Framatome), was recently installed in Bruce Power’s Unit 7 during a planned maintenance outage. The IPS is a first-of-its-kind solution to produce short-lived medical isotopes in a commercial reactor and will provide unprecedented capacity, redundancy and scale for medical isotope production. Isogen will also work with Bruce Power and Boston Scientific on the feasibility of yttrium-90 production using the IPS.

“The installation of our Isotope Production System to produce luteitum-177 is a huge milestone, and it is equally as exciting to continue to look for new ways to use our reliable irradiation capability and further expand our production of cancer-fighting medical isotopes at Bruce Power,” said Peter McDermid, Bruce Power Director of Isotopes and Site Energy Develop, Business Development & Energy Innovation.

Partnership with the Saugeen Ojibway Nation

In support of the global fight against cancer, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) and Bruce Power will continue to collaborate to market new isotopes and create new economic opportunities within the SON territory by establishing new isotope infrastructure. As Chief Veronica Smith of the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation has pointed out, the Partnership will provide an essential source of much-needed medical isotopes for cancer patients in our communities, across Canada and around the world.

“Our Community embraces these technologies and our partnerships that produce medical isotopes to help battle cancer around the world,” said Chief Conrad Ritchie of Saugeen First Nation.

About Bruce Power

Bruce Power is an electricity company based in Bruce County, Ontario. We are powered by our people. Our 4,200 employees are the foundation of our accomplishments and are proud of the role they play in safely delivering clean, reliable, low-cost nuclear power to families and businesses across the province and life-saving medical isotopes around the world. Bruce Power has worked hard to build strong roots in Ontario and is committed to protecting the environment and supporting the communities in which we live. Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is a Canadian-owned partnership of TC Energy, OMERS, the Power Workers’ Union and The Society of United Professionals. Learn more at www.brucepower.com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

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