Director Mark de Jong says it's a breakthrough that could eventually help to prevent a shortage of the material used in some diagnostic tests.
Medical isotopes are generally created in nuclear reactors.
De Jong points out the particle accelerator at the University of Saskatchewan is much smaller than a reactor, doesn't create any nuclear waste and is more reliable.
The medical isotope project is waiting for approval from Health Canada, which it expects to receive by 2016.
De Jong says there are only a few nuclear reactors in the world that produce medical isotopes and many of them are 40 to 50 years old.
Problems associated with aging can cause them to be shut down for long periods of time and create worldwide isotope shortages.
One of the largest medical isotope facilities in the world, Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, is expected to close in two years. It has been shut down a number of times for repairs.
A worldwide isotope shortage occurred in 2009 when a disruption at Chalk River lasted for months and coincided with a shutdown at a generator in the Netherlands.
"What we're trying to do is try to make sure (hospitals) have a continuing supply of isotopes that they're currently using," de Jong said Friday.
He said the medical isotopes produced in his lab could eventually supply all of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northern Ontario. All of Canada would have a steady supply if there were two or three facilities such as the one in Saskatoon, he suggested.
Medical isotopes are used in medical tests such as CT scans to diagnose cancer or heart disease.
Right now, isotopes produced in the Saskatoon facility are being shipped to Winnipeg for testing and processing. De Jong hopes to eventually have processing done closer to home.
"We're already in discussions with the new radiopharmacy (for radioactive drugs) that will be next to the cyclotron lab. When that's in operation, we'll start shipping right next door.
"It's only about 50 metres away."
(CKOM, CJWW, The Canadian Press)Suggest a correction