Toronto (June 21, 2011) - CanProbe, a unique, not-for-profit joint venture to advance the use of medical isotopes for diagnosing and treating cancer and other serious diseases, was announced today by the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC) and the University Health Network (UHN).

The joint venture, officially the Canadian Molecular Imaging Probe Consortium (CanProbe), combines the strengths of both organizations to create a new centre of excellence in Toronto to develop and manufacture molecular imaging probes. These probes are part of an advanced imaging technology that uses medical isotopes to assess the health of patients at a cellular level. Using molecular probes, physicians can diagnose diseases earlier and more accurately, monitor the effectiveness of treatments and deliver targeted therapies, often without the need for biopsies or surgeries.

CanProbe will establish a new research, production and distribution centre in Toronto that will supply important, often life-saving, molecular probes to support research and clinical imaging programs for UHN-affiliated hospitals and for the global nuclear medicine community. The centre will also work to introduce new molecular imaging probes to Ontario through its own research and development efforts and by gaining approval to manufacture imaging probes that are successfully used in other parts of the world. CanProbe will provide complete concept-to-clinic services in probe development that include research, development, regulatory approvals, clinical trials, manufacturing and distribution.

UHN and CPDC researchers have already started their first project with CanProbe, working to develop new molecular imaging probes that will help diagnose and treat certain rare medical conditions in children and adults. In many cases, these patients have few options for care and often seek medical attention outside of Ontario or Canada. By enabling hospitals to offer care in Ontario, CanProbe could help to reduce costs to the health care system, improve access to services and ease the financial and emotional difficulties patients experience when they travel outside of their province or territory for medical attention.

"Collaborative initiatives like CanProbe are essential to bring experts together, to foster innovation and accelerate probe development in a way that will have significant benefit for patients," said John Valliant, CEO and Scientific Director of CPDC. "CPDC has achieved great success in probe development through support and collaborations with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, General Electric, and our partners at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences in Hamilton. CanProbe is an exciting opportunity to expand our network of partners and to join with a world-class institution like UHN to address the growing need for molecular imaging probes in Ontario and throughout the world."

"For patients everywhere, this partnership to develop more accurate, targeted, minimally invasive clinical diagnostic tools and treatment is very good news indeed," said Dr. Robert Bell, President and CEO, UHN. "By joining with CPDC to form CanProbe, we can pool our respective areas of expertise to create the next generation of molecular imaging tools for detecting and treating cancer and other serious diseases.  The ability to 'see' what is going on inside an individual's body at the molecular level is an exciting, emerging frontier in medicine. This is what personalizing medicine is all about, tailoring specific treatments to individuals. The possibilities are limitless and we're eager to get going."

To ensure continued growth in Canada's nuclear medicine capabilities, CanProbe will develop recruitment and training programs for all aspects of probe development and commercialization. The goal will be to strengthen the pool of radiochemists, probe development scientists and physicians who are able to use molecular imaging probes in their research programs and clinical practices. Training will also be developed to support probe manufacturing, regulatory affairs, distribution and cyclotron engineering.

Once fully established, CanProbe will promote its products and services on a global scale and work to establish Ontario as an international destination for molecular imaging probe development, clinical trials, and commercialization.

About Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC)

CPDC discovers, develops and distributes molecular imaging probes for the early diagnosis of diseases and to assess the effectiveness of treatments. An important part of Ontario's health system, CPDC provides a reliable, daily supply of imaging probes to hospitals across the province. CPDC also works collaboratively with industry and academic partners, offering the research, manufacturing and regulatory expertise needed to move innovative probe technology and new therapeutic drugs from R&D labs to clinical use. CPDC is a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, part of the Networks of Centres of Excellence Program, and is supported by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, GE Healthcare, Cancer Care Ontario, VWR, and McMaster University. To learn more, visit CPDC at

About University Health Network

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals, and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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