Russian radiopharmaceutical goes to preclinical trials this fall

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The researchers at Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU), together with their colleagues from the Tomsk Research Institute of Oncology and the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, have developed a radiopharmaceutical labeled with Technetium-99 isotope for precise diagnosis of oncological diseases. This fall, the project is expected to enter into the stage of preclinical trials.

The medicine is based on DARPin, a protein scaffold with attached chelate complex that binds the protein to radioactive Technetium-99 isotope. TPU has also developed a non-waste technology to produce this isotope, which is highly demanded in medical diagnostics.

“A cancerous cell has a “small lock” in the form of receptors, and the protein in the medicine serves as a key to these receptors. To make sure that this key is not lost among many other similar keys, it needs to be labeled. This is where we need the chelate complexes. The physicists use that marker to absorb the Technetium isotope, which can be easily detected by means of gamma cameras. Such structure of radiopharmaceutical allows to determine very accurately the size of the tumor and its location. This is especially important in diagnosis of small-cell cancers, when cancer cells are scattered across the affected organ,” said Mekhman Yusubov, the Head of the Department of Technology of Organic Substances and Polymer Materials at TPU.

According to the scientist, in the future, this medicine can be used not only to diagnose the oncological diseases, but also to treat them.