Dr Schaffer is responsible for maintaining the medical isotope and radiotracer production programs at TRIUMF, in support of neurology and oncology research. For his leadership in the field, Dr Schaffer was recently recognized as one of BC's Top Forty under 40 by Business in Vancouver magazine. He continues to re-define the TRIUMF nuclear medicine program as a leader, an entrepreneur and one of British Columbia's most promising scientific talents. A modest man with a sense of humour and a strong commitment to his family and playing hard outdoors, Paul came to TRIUMF in 2009 from the private sector where he worked at General Electric in upstate New York. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from McMaster University in 2003 and earned his B.Sc. with honours in chemistry and biochemistry from UBC in 1998. He is now also an adjunct professor at SFU's Department of Chemistry and an assistant professor in the Department of Radiology at UBC. Our healthcare system is currently experiencing a revolution in the use and development of medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of acute and chronic diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimers. The impressive recent growth and the spectacular future potential of isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals for medicine are predicated on the widespread availability of isotope-production facilities to drive research and development.
(An isotope is a particular "flavour" of a chemical element. Radioisotopes are radioactive flavours, and are useful in many different technologies, such as smoke detectors, and radiocarbon dating, as well as nuclear medicine. A radiopharmaceutical is a biological chemical synthesized including one or more radioisotopes.)
TRIUMF specializes in medical isotope production with cyclotron particle accelerators, which is becoming the new norm in Canada and worldwide. As of 2013, there were nearly 900 cyclotrons operational in hospitals across 6 continents, enabling 3 to 6 million medical imaging scans yearly. In contrast, a handful of aging reactors use enriched uranium for the production of technetium-99m, which is used in 20-40 million medical scans each year. Canadian innovators are leading the way in demonstrating that the world's existing cyclotron infrastructure is also capable of producing technetium-99m, and may be a viable alternative to reactors in the very near future.
This talk will outline the science behind medical isotope production and radiopharmaceutical synthesis, and will discuss current isotopes and how they are used. The history of past isotope shortages will be explained, as well as the efforts of Canadian scientists seeking to creating a stable isotope supply with widely-available cyclotrons. The talk will conclude with an overview of exciting new radiopharmaceuticals currently in or near clinical trials, radiotracers that can serve as alternatives to Tc-99m imaging agents, as well as new, targeted tracers for the diagnosis and staging of various diseases.
November 27, 2013 at 6:30pm
Telus World of Science, 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, B.C.