February 14 , 2008


Federal government awards $14.9-million to create molecular imaging centre

Hamilton, ON - The Networks of Centres of Excellence today awarded $14.9-million to McMaster University to establish a centre that will be a world leader in the development and commercialization of medical isotope probes.

The announcement was made in Ottawa this afternoon by Industry Minister Jim Prentice.

John Valliant, acting director of the McMaster Institute of Applied Radiation Sciences, will be the scientific director of the new Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC), which will be located at the McMaster Innovation Park. 

A key component of molecular imaging, one of the fastest growing fields in medicine, is molecular imaging probes. Canada currently has a number of world-class centres working on creating the next generation of probes to target a wide range of diseases. The problem, says Valliant, is moving those promising probes from the research lab to the clinic. 

The CPDC, he says, will address that problem by closing the gaps between research, development, translation and commercialization.  “The Centre will have a tangible and significant economic and clinical impact,” says Valliant, adding it’s the first in the country, perhaps the world, to address every component of probe development.

Molecular imaging probes are agents that can be used to visualize specific biological targets and processes. By creating the means to monitor biochemistry non-invasively molecular imaging probes have the ability to promote earlier and more accurate diagnosis of major diseases such as cancer and diabetes. 

“Bridging the gap between research and commercialization is essential if we’re to capture the true economic, social and health benefits of the research being done here at McMaster and throughout Canada’s research universities,” said Peter George, the University’s president. “I am confident that this new Centre will generate enormous economic opportunities for Hamilton, the province and the country. We congratulate the Prime Minister and Minister Prentice on their foresight and leadership in recognizing the important contribution this research will make to Canada.”

The imaging centre is part of a $25-million investment involving private sector partners, government agencies and the University.

Mo Elbestawi, vice-president of research and international affairs, says the Centre will have an immediate impact on our region. “The CPDC’s eventual presence at the McMaster Innovation Park will act as a magnet for related bioscience businesses and research and development companies.   It will be a catalyst for future growth in this area and its effect on our economy will be felt for years to come.”

The CPDC was crafted out of discussions among the leading probe development and imaging groups in the Province, including world-class teams located at universities, research institutes, hospitals and cancer centres from across Ontario.

Major Partners in the Centre include The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), GEHealth Care Canada, the McMaster Nuclear Reactor and Cancer Care Ontario.

“Today’s announcement marks a milestone in Canadian research history,” said Prentice. “The technologies, therapies, services and products generated by these new centres will help improve the well-being of all Canadians while positioning Canada at the forefront of priority research areas.”

McMaster University, a world-renowned, research-intensive university, fosters a culture of innovation, and a commitment to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. Based in Hamilton, the University, one of only four Canadian universities to be listed on the Top 100 universities in the world, has a student population of more than 23,000, and an alumni population of more than 130,000 in 128 countries.


For more information, please contact:

Jane Christmas

Manager, Public & Media Relations

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 27988


Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager: Broadcast Media

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 22869