Molecular Radiotherapy + Imaging Laboratory


Alpha Particle Emitting Therapies Imaged on Clinical SPECT Systems

Targeted alpha particle radiotherapies (aRPT) are of great clinical and pharmaceutical interest because of their unique physical and biomedical properties. Precision approaches to measure the distribution and tumor targeting of these agents in humans is a considerable challenge. Comparing three leading aRPT isotopes (223Ra, 227Th and 225Ac), across three clinical SPECT systems from two vendors, and multiple collimator configurations, we put forward an important first step towards advancing a personalized theranostic paradigm.

Imaging an anthropomorphic vertebral phantom filled with 40 kBq/mL Radium-223 on the GE Discovery 670.
Imaging an anthropomorphic vertebral phantom filled with 40 kBq/mL Radium-223 on the GE Discovery 670

Computational Imaging Improves Digital Autoradiography for Biomedical Applications

Digital autoradiography (DAR) is a core technique in the drug development toolkit for both radiopharmaceuticals and classical drug agents. Using a novel algorithm that iteratively improves both signal to noise ratio and decreases spurious background noise, we have implemented a first in field approach to significantly improve DAR for positron emitting diagnostics and alpha particle emitting therapies.

Insights from in vivo models and in vitro systems of the pharmacokinetics and organ-specific interactions of Radium-223, a treatment for bone metastatic prostate cancer, have led to a novel combination therapy strategy that both improves treatment response and reduces off-target toxicities.

The COVID-19 pandemic is caused by interaction of the highly permissive SARS-CoV-2 with host cell Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor. Persistent questions about virus dynamics and response to treatment may hinge on ACE2 expression levels. With our collaborators we have rapidly translated a high affinity ACE2-binding peptide to noninvasively and quantitatively assess ACE2 expression in mice, and in man.

Safe and effective treatment with these highly potent treatments is complicated by concatenated emitters, impurities and complex emission spectra. Detailed assessment of radiolabeled material and new, high throughput and more accurate characterization technologies have been a focus of our program.

Minute but detectable impurity of Thorium-227 at day of patient administration, from contaminating Actinium-227 in a radiolabeled cancer targeting peptide labeled with Actinium-225.

Relevant Publications

Our People

The lab, led by Daniel Thorek, PhD, leverages multidisciplinary excellence in the areas radiology, radiation oncology and engineering to drive innovation for translational impact.

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