Radiopharmaceutical developed in Tomsk may compete with PET

The scientists from the Cancer Research Institute of the Tomsk National Research Medical Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences are testing a radiopharmaceutical based on technetium labeled glucose for diagnosis of breast cancer and other malignant tumors.

The drug will become a viable alternative to positron emission tomography (PET) and reduce the costs of cancer patient examination.

Today, PET is the most effective method for diagnosis of malignant neoplasms. The method is based on detecting the selective accumulation of fluorine-18 labeled glucose in cancer cells.

“In the past year, the global market of radionuclides was $9.6 billion. 80% of it comes from radiopharmaceuticals and out of them 80% are based on technetium. This is a short-lived, inexpensive, easy-to-use radionuclide available in any radionuclide laboratory. As a result, in our research, we focus specifically on technetium,” said Vladimir Chernov, the Deputy Director for Science at the Cancer Research Institute of the Tomsk National Research Medical Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The main drawback of PET is the extremely high price of the study, which is caused by significant cost of equipment and consumables.

“The study based on technetium is 10-20 times less expensive,” said Vladimir Chernov. “Together with the colleagues from Tomsk Polytechnic University, we developed a simple method to produce the radiopharmaceutical based on technetium-labeled glucose, which will allow to use this drug by all oncological institutions in Russia.”

The tests demonstrated that the medicine developed by Tomsk scientists is not toxic, and there were no complications during the studies involving technetium.

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