The principle of radiation therapy against cancer is more than one hundred years old. In 1895, the discovery of a “new kind of radiation,” and with the opportunity of looking inside the body, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen recognized the significance of x-rays for diagnostics. In 1896, Frenchman Henri Becquerel discovered radiation of natural agents and chemicals, carving the path for the use of radioactive agents as medical drugs. Therapy opportunity with radionuclides followed in 1940.
Targeted Radionuclide Therapy is not a traditional radiation therapy, which irradiates tumors from outside of the body. Rather, this therapy is a specialty treatment of the Precision Oncology sector, whereby the radiopharmaceuticals are injected into the patient’s body and guided directly to the tumor cells.
The targeted radiopharmaceutical 177Lu-Edotreotide emits medical radioactivity (ionizing β-radiation from the isotope Lutetium-177) when coupled with the tumor-specific molecule Edotreotide. Edotreotide is a synthetic biomolecule acting as an analog of Somatostatin, a human hormone released by the pancreas during the digestive process. The Edotreotide molecule is produced in a laboratory under GMP-conditions (Good Manufacturing Practices), indicating strict certified international guidelines. In the body, Edotreotide detects biological sensors on the tumor cell surface and binds them according to a lock-and-key principle.
The medical radioisotope Lutetium-177 is coupled to this targeting biomolecule Edotreotide. After binding to the tumor cell surface, this biomolecule-radionuclide complex gets internalized into the tumor cell. In doing so, the radioactive isotope decays with a maximum radius of 1.7mm, releasing energy into and destroying the tumor in a targeted manner. The highly precise localization of radioactivity ensures that healthy tissue surrounding the targeted tumor cells is minimally affected.