QEII Nuclear Medicine
Our Clinical Care
Nuclear Medicine uses radiolabelled molecules -- radiopharmaceuticals – to diagnose and treat disease. Our tests span the breadth of medicine, including oncology, cardiac disease, and endocrinology, as well as diseases of the neurologic, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and pulmonary systems. New studies recently introduced include 123I-Ioflupane (DatScanTM) for parkinsonian disorders and 99mTc-pyrophasphate for assessment of cardiac amyloid. Our contribution to patient care includes involvement in 9 cancer tumour site teams. In addition to QEII studies, we oversee and report much of the nuclear medicine performed at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital and the IWK Health Centre.
Positron Emission Tomography
We perform over 3000 18F-FDG PET-CT scans per year, contributing significantly to the care of Nova Scotians. The majority are for oncology, though brain PET is performed for dementia and epilepsy, while cardiac PET is performed for sarcoidosis.
In addition to 18F-FDG, we have recently introduced 68Ga-DOTATATE PET scanning, a major advance in the assessment of patients with neuroendocrine tumours. It is anticipated that other PET tracers will follow, beginning with 68Ga-PSMA for prostate cancer.
In November 2020 we began performing 177Lu-DOTATATE therapies, the “Theragnostic” counterpart of the 68Ga-DOTATATE PET scans mentioned above. We are currently involved with 177Lu-PSMA therapy fro prostate cancer in clinical trials and it is anticipated this will become available clinically in the near future. These join our established repertoire of radioisotope therapies including 131Iodine for hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer, 223Radium for prostate cancer, and 131I-MIBG for neuroendocrine tumours. We also facilitate 90Y-microsphere liver therapies performed by Interventional Radiology and 90Y-colloid treatment of craniopharyngiomas by Neurosurgery.
Bone Mineral Density
Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and fracture risk assessment are major facets of our clinical and educational programs. Dalhousie Nuclear Medicine physicians are engaged in these pursuits at the national level with Osteoporosis Canada, the Canadian Association of Radiologists, and the Canadian Panel of the International Society of Clinical Densitometry.
Nuclear Medicine is a separate specialty of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). At Dalhousie we offer a sought-after 6-year combined residency in Nuclear Medicine and Diagnostic Radiology, leading to RCPSC certification in both specialties. (Krista: should we have a link to the Nuc Med residency website? https://medicine.dal.ca/departments/department-sites/radiology/programs/residency/Nuclear_Medicine.html
Dr. Ash Wily is the Residency Program Director. There are currently 5 residents in our program. Medical Students are welcome through the department’s electives program. We are also the main clinical site for the training of Nuclear Medicine technologists through the Faculty of Health Professions.
Dalhousie Nuclear Medicine has a strong tradition of research. Our physicians have been Dalhousie Research Directors and have received local and national research awards. In addition to investigator-driven research, we participate in industry-sponsored research including novel PET radiotracers and radioisotope therapies.
- State-of-the-art digital PET-CT scanner (GE Discovery MI 25)• 3 SPECT-CT cameras
- 3 additional gamma cameras
- Radiopharmaceutical production facilities:
- cyclotron and 18F-FDG production centre
- 68Gallium generator
- provincial radiopharmacy, hotlab and wetlab facilities