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Nuclear medicine

Agency to research best use of medical isotopes

OTTAWA – The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) will conduct a $3-million research project on the optimal use of medical isotopes and alternatives.

The project will provide guidance to the health system on how to optimize the management and use of the medical isotope technetium-99m and will consider appropriate alternative medical isotopes and medical imaging equipment. Funding for this research was included in the Government of Canada’s Budget 2010.

CADTH is a national body that provides Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial healthcare decision-makers with evidence-based, impartial advice about the effectiveness and efficiency of drugs and other health technologies.

The project, funded through a grant from Health Canada, will focus on the identification and development of improved policies, protocols, and standards to help healthcare decision-makers optimize the use of the medical isotope technetium-99m, as well as the use of alternative medical isotopes and medical imaging equipment.

“The medical isotope shortage forced everyone to be creative, some found better ways to use medical isotopes while others came up with alternatives with equally or more effective diagnostic imaging solutions,” said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq (pictured). “This initiative will help determine how best to use our available medical resources to provide timely access and more effective and sustainable options for patients.”

Medical isotopes are used in a number of diagnostic medical imaging tests to help physicians detect medical conditions ranging from cancer to heart disease.

“The guidance that emerges from this project will help ensure that Canadians and their health care providers can continue to rely on appropriate and effective diagnostic imaging tests,” said Dr. Brian O’Rourke, President and CEO, Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.

Independent research, subject matter experts.

CADTH has assembled a committee of 23 distinguished representatives from health professions, institutions, regions, ministries of health, the public, and experts in scientific research and methodology. The Medical Isotopes and Imaging Modalities Advisory Committee (MIIMAC) provides advice for the research project and develops the guidance that will emerge from the findings.

CADTH is an independent, not-for-profit agency funded by Canadian federal, provincial, and territorial governments to provide credible, impartial advice and evidence-based information about the effectiveness of drugs and other health technologies to Canadian health care decision-makers. Established in 1989 by Canada’s health ministers, CADTH has conducted research on key health care topics, including oral medications for people with type 2 diabetes, smoking cessation treatments, and emergency department overcrowding.

Posted February 10, 2011