The Israeli Isotopia Company, in collaboration with Prof. Rachela Popovtzer of Bar-Ilan University’s Alexander Kofkin Faculty of Engineering, is conducting a joint study to develop a radioactive marker, based on nanoparticles, for the detection of cancer. The goal of this research is to facilitate, for the first time, the distinction between tumors and inflammation.
Bar-Ilan University is a public research university in the city of Ramat Gan in the Tel Aviv District, Israel. Established in 1955, Bar Ilan is Israel’s second-largest academic institution.
The most common imaging method for diagnosing and monitoring cancer today is the positron emission tomography (PET) scan used with radioactive contrast material fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). However, FDG gives high rates of false positives, which lead to false therapeutic observations and expensive costs for health care systems. The main problem is that the test can detect not only tumors, but also inflammation, making it difficult to differentiate between cancerous growths and inflammation.
The material being developed by the researchers is a radioactive contrast agent based on nanoparticles. In addition to identifying, imaging and tracking cancer tumors, these nanoparticles make it possible to make an unequivocal distinction between tumor and inflammation.
The research is being carried out within the framework of the “Magneton” program of the “Innovation Authority” (formerly the “Bureau of the Scientist”), which funds research aimed at encouraging the transfer of technological know-how accumulated in academia for innovative industry products. Fundraising for Magneton (for Bar-Ilan University) was overseen by Birad Research and Development Company Ltd., the commercializing company of the University.