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March 18, 2015

CIHR-funded clinical study could revolutionize medical diagnostic imaging
CIHR-funded researchers at Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) have potentially found a green alternative for diagnosing medical problems through use of X-Rays that would eliminate nuclear waste. Technetium (or Tc-99m) is a radioactive element that’s commonly injected into patients to help doctors assess medical problems through X-Ray images – and is produced in nuclear reactors. In a clinical study, Centre de recherche du CHUS researchers injected Tc-99m that was created in a cyclotron (a particle accelerator) into 11 patients. Their results demonstrated that this still led to the production of clear images and helped in the diagnosis of thyroid problems in the patients. Researchers now plan to analyze whether this new way of generating the liquid element can diagnose more complex medical problems, like pulmonary embolisms. If their tests prove to be successful, the cyclotron’s Tc-99m could be developed on a large scale due to low costs and then incorporated into hospitals.