“Imagine being able to understand the origins of mental illness by visualizing the function of brain cells…”
-Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH President and CEO
Building on CAMH’s radioimaging legacy
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s leading and only Hospital dedicated to mental health and addictions research has a long-standing track record of pioneering new brain imaging agents.
In November 2017, the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry opened in the Research Imaging Centre (RIC) of CAMH.
Dr. Neil Vasdev is the inaugural Director of the Centre, as well as the Director of the CAMH RIC. He is a Tier-1 Canada Research Chair in Radiochemistry and Nuclear Medicine as well as the Azrieli Chair for Brain and Behaviour at the University of Toronto, where he is a Professor of Psychiatry. He most recently served as the Director of Radiochemistry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.
The Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry is working towards creating new radiolabeled chemicals to provide a more accurate and complete understanding of several mental illnesses, as well as to aid in the development of new treatments and help understand why some drugs work better for certain patients.
The CAMH RIC houses 2 cyclotrons, 17 hot cells (lead shielded fume hoods for radiochemistry), the highest resolution head-only brain PET scanner in the world (HRRT), a state of the art PET-CT scanner, a 3T-MRI and preclinical PET-MR scanner.
The Centre is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.
With the support of the Azrieli Foundation, the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-Radiochemistry has leveraged the funding to include:
- Infrastructure for state-of-the art radiochemistry discovery and clinical production
- $1.8 M CFI infrastructure grant in March 2019
- 17 scientific publications
- 7 new research grants and industrial contracts
- 17 new staff, scientists, as well as fellows, graduate and undergraduate trainees.
- Inaugurated the Azrieli Centre for Neuro-radiochemistry Seminar Series with 17 Seminars
- 2 novel PET radiopharmaceuticals to image the living human brain for a broad spectrum of brain health disorders such as schizophrenia, mood disorders, addictions, neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injuries & autism spectrum disorder.
- New collaboration with CAMH’s Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre to investigate PET in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Azrieli National Institute for Human Brain Imaging and Research was established in 2016 at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
The new cutting-edge facility will promote studies related to the physiology, biochemistry, and functioning of the human brain.
Under the direction of Prof. Noam Sobel, the Azrieli National Institute features as its centerpiece a new, ultra-high-field 7T MRI system: This MRI is the first of this power in Israel and one of only about 60 in operation worldwide. They system is the height of what is currently possible for use in humans.
As a National Centre houses at the Weizmann Institute, the ANHBI’s 7T MRI scanner will allow scientists throughout Israel to acquire and visualize anatomical, functional, and metabolic brain imaging data in three dimensions at previously unattainable spatial resolution and precision.
The Weizmann Institute’s human 7T MRI scanner is the first such instrument in Israel and one of only about 60 in operation worldwide. The system is the height of what is currently possible for use in humans.
According to Prof. Sobel, “We now will have the capacity to see much smaller structures in the human brain in much shorter time frames, creating far higher scientific potential than ever before. For instance, before this, we couldn’t see neurotransmitters in the brain. Now we can. So now the onus is on us to generate the science.”