The emergence of a revolutionary molecular radiotherapy (MRT) technology as therapeutic approach
MRT is a radiotherapy technic used in nuclear medicine within the oncology field. Unlike external beam radiotherapy, the irradiation is vectorized by molecules able to bind specifically to tumor cells. Those molecules are radiolabeled and administered intravenously, like a chemotherapy or a targeted therapy. External beam radiotherapy is currently used in more than 50% of clinical protocols in oncology, however, it can only be used to treat a single tumor or a limited number of tumors (oligometastases). MRT is, from its side, well suited to treat disseminated metastases.
At a technological level, MRT is based on the administration of a labeled drug with a radioactive isotope (radiopharmaceutical) to destroy, specifically, tumor cells. Its efficiency comes from the emitted radioactivity which causes low dose rate irradiation leading to cell death. These particle-emitting radioisotopes are directed towards targets over-expressed by tumor cells, using very specific vectors, capable of recognizing and attaching to them.
The specificity of the vector for a tumor target thus makes it possible to spare healthy tissues and guarantee better effectiveness while limiting side effects, a strategy particularly well suited to disseminate diseases.
Theranostics (meaning “therapy” and “diagnosis”) aim to both diagnose and treat cancers as a unified approach. The advantage of MRT is precisely the potential to create a radiotheranostic agent, meaning a radiopharmaceutical which, depending on the radiation nature of the chosen isotope, allows diagnostic imaging (prediction/therapeutic monitoring) or patient therapy.
The diagnostic agent (called diagnostic companion) therefore makes it possible to understand the usefulness, effectiveness, and optimal dose of the therapeutic agent for a given patient, based on its biodistribution.
This radiotheranostic approach capitalizes on the proprietary platform of recognized partners with whom we are in discussion, to jointly develop radiotheranostic molecules through one or more Joint Venture, capable of generating highly specific biological molecules for targets identified by our OncoSNIPER technology.
This approach also capitalizes on Pharmimage®, the pharmaco-imaging platform from Oncodesign Services.
PROMETHE program focuses on two development axes detailed below:
Axis 1, concernes radiotheranostic molecules, from R&D to clinical emplementation. PROMETHE program is made up of several projects, with different vector thechnologies, including the COMETE project described below.
COMETE project: This project is supported by the FEDER grant. It focuses on the development of a portfolio of radiotheranostic molecules for the treatment of advanced digestive cancers. This project aims at developing two radiotheranostic pairs until pre-clinical dosimetry studies. COMETE has been setted up by the company Oncodesign Precision Pedicine (OPM) as well as by academics entities including the cancer center (CGFL) and the chemistry institute (ICMUB), all based in Dijon, France. This grant project had been selected by the Burgundy Franche Comté (BFC) region and we are awaiting from the committee decision to know the exact amount that will be allocated to this project.
Axis 2, concernes the structuring of the nuclear medicine sector in France via the federation of academic and private actors. PROMETHE® is a non-profit organization under the French law created on July 3rd 2023 by Philippe Genne (OPM’s CEO) and Charles Coutant (CGFL’s director). Its aim it to improve public health, in particular to accelerate the discovery and development of new radiotheranostic molecules effective against advanced and resistant cancers. The main objectives of the association are as follow:
- Federation and connection of players in the field at regional, national and European levels
- Development of the sector with support from stakeholders for the production of medical isotopes; structuring nuclear medicine hospital services leading to the improvement of patient care; and lobbying regulatory authorities for good reimbursement of MRT drugs
- Improvement and creation of university and private trainings
- Popularization and communications for patients, caregivers and all kind of public
These objectives will lead to the acceleration of R&D and the creation of projects in the field of radiotheranostics.
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