Researchers of Tomsk Polytechnic University have developed a radiopharmaceutical for highly accurate diagnosis of stomach cancer. It has been obtained using a technology that is completely new in Russia. The radiopharmaceutical is under clinical trials at the Oncology Research Institute of the Tomsk National Research Medical Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences. It can be used for selecting the most effective treatment for a particular patient.
The medicine has an original structure. It consists of a technetium-99 isotope, scaffolding protein and binding compounds. The protein can stick to certain areas of cancer cells and transfer technetium. So, technetium precisely indicates the malignant tumor location which is scanned through a gamma camera or single-photon emission computed tomography.
To bind scaffold protein with the isotope is a complex task. Therefore, until now this type of radiopharmaceuticals is rarely used in world clinical practice.
“We began the radiopharmaceutical research focused on the epidermal growth factor receptors of patients with gastric malignancies. We obtain the accurate imaging of malignant tumors due to the scaffold protein, which is extremely specific in terms of binding to cancer cells receptors of a particular patient. After this diagnosis, we can recommend a personalized treatment with targeted drugs.”
Vladimir Chernov, Head of Department for Radionuclide Diagnostics of Tomsk National Research Medical Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says.
This radiopharmaceutical is the first one in the line of agents for visualizing gastric cancer, which was developed under the TPU megagrant supported by the Russian government in November 2019. TPU assembled an interdisciplinary team of chemists, pharmacists, physicians, biochemists, and nuclear medicine specialists. The studies are supervised by Professor Vladimir Tolmachev (Uppsala University, Sweden), one of the leading world specialists in the field of radiochemistry.
“Our task is to develop a line of radiopharmaceuticals both for a more effective diagnosis of cancer and then for the treatment to combine diagnosis and treatment functions in a single drug. This project will enable Tomsk to strengthen its status as a center of nuclear medicine. We have all resources and facilities available, such as the TPU research nuclear reactor for production of isotopes, cyclotron, professionals in physics and chemistry, and a powerful medical infrastructure in the region. It is important to apply these advanced technologies for patients,”
Dr. Mekhman Yusubov, Vice-Rector for Research and Innovations, says.
In the future, the researchers and doctors plan to work on medicines based on the iodine-123 and therapeutic lutetium-177.