Radionuclide treatment against small tumors and metastases
Researchers at Technische Universitaet Muenchen produced Terbium-161 from Gadolinium-160 by neutron irradiation at the Garching FRM II research neutron source. Terbium-161 is ideal for therapeutic purposes because it has a half-life of only 6.9 days. Credit: Andreas Heddergott / TU Muenchen
Medicine could very soon have a new ally in the fight against cancer: Terbium-161. Its most important weapon: Conversion and Auger electrons. Researchers at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have developed a new treatment method based on terbium-161 to treat smaller tumors and metastases in a more targeted way. The nuclide was produced at the TUM's research neutron source. In cooperation with the Paul Scherrer Institute it has been tested on cancer cells successfully.
A cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. There are now quite a number of possibilities to treat cancer. In addition to radiotherapy and chemotherapy, so-called radionuclide treatment has also become an important component in the fight against the mutated cells. It involves injecting radioactive elements, so-called nuclides, into the patient's circulatory system. Bonded to special molecules which preferentially attach themselves to cancer cells, the nuclides are pumped through the body by the heart until they finally find their target: a cancer cell. Having arrived there, they attach themselves to its cell walls, decay and thus release radiation into their surroundings. This attacks the cancer cells at close range and ideally destroys them.
Lutetium-177 is a nuclide already used for clinical applications. As it decays, fast electrons, so-called beta particles, are generated. In human tissue they have a range of up to 100 micrometers, five times the diameter of a tumor cell. They can therefore also damage healthy tissue in the vicinity. Dr. Silvia Lehenberger, a radiochemist at the TUM, has now succeeded in producing the Terbium-161 nuclide pure enough and in quantities sufficient for therapeutic applications. The nuclide emits not only the beta particles, but also conversion and Auger electrons, which have a range of only 0.5 to 30 micrometers. Their ranges match the size of tumor cells, making them ideal for the treatment of small tumors and metastases. "Moreover, the nuclide has a higher energy content than comparable particles," explains Silvia Lehenberger. "This means smaller doses can be administered to the patient, which in turn means a reduction in the radiation exposure."
Like lutetium or neodymium, which is familiar from high-power magnets, terbium is one of the so-called rare earth metals. The elements of the rare earths are extremely similar in chemical terms. Moreover, the raw material contains impurities which would not be permissible for a clinical application. It was therefore essential to develop suitable separation methods in order to be able to isolate the desired terbium-161 in as pure a state as possible. Coauthor and TUM colleague Christoph Barkhausen played a crucial role in the development of the separation method. The similarity of the rare earth elements also has an advantage, however: The medical application worked out for Lutetium-177 can also be used for Terbium-161.
A cooperation between Silvia Lehenberger and researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villingen (Switzerland) has already been able to prove the effectiveness of the nuclide on cancer cells in the laboratory. This is only the first step on the road to the final medication, however. It must pass a great many tests before it can be administered to people in hospital.
The researchers produced the Terbium-161 nuclide from Gadolinium-160 by neutron irradiation at the Garching FRM II research neutron source. Terbium-161 is ideal for therapeutic purposes because it has a half-life of only 6.9 days. This has the advantage that, after it has been produced, it can be transported to the clinic where it is to be used without losing much of its activity; it also means that the radiation has already decayed to about one percent of its original value after 50 days.
The work was undertaken as part of a cooperation between Radiochemistry Munich (RCM) at the TUM and the Laboratory for Radiochemistry and Environmental Chemistry and the Center for Radiopharmaceutical Sciences at the Paul Scherrer Institute (Villingen/Switzerland). The Terbium-161 was mainly produced at the neutron source of the Technische Universitaet Muenchen in Garching and additionally at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble and in the neutron source of the Helmholtz Center Berlin. Lutetium-177 for comparative tests was provided by Isotope Technologies Garching GmbH, which has been providing this nuclide to hospitals for many years for therapeutic purposes.
More information: Silvia Lehenberger, Christoph Barkhausen, Susan Cohrs, Eliane Fischer, Jürgen Grünberg, Alexander Hohn, Ulli Köster, Roger Schibli, Andreas Türler, Konstantin Zhernosekov, The low-energy β− and electron emitter 161Tb as an alternative to 177Lu for targeted radionuclide therapy, Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Biology, DOI: 10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2011.02.007
Provided by Technische Universitaet Muenchen
- New radioisotope will improve cancer therapy Apr 22, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- MU researcher finds new method to create cancer drugs Sep 28, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Researcher Finds New Method to Create Cancer Drugs Sep 16, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Sensor biochips could aid in cancer diagnosis and treatment Oct 22, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Study shows PET can measure effectiveness of novel breast cancer treatment Jul 02, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
6 hours ago Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
Ratio of Hydrogen of Oxygen in Dessicated Animal Protein
May 13, 2013 As an experiment, for the past few months I've been consuming at least one portion of Jell-O or unflavored Knox gelatin per day. I'm 64, in very...
Alcohol and acetaminophen
May 13, 2013 Edit: sorry for the typo in the title , can't edit I looked around on google quite a bit and it's very hard to find precise information on the...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
The surgical management of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in U.S. hospitals varies widely depending on the race of the patient, according to a new study.
Cancer 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Treatment with an Alpha-1 proteinase inhibitor (A1-PI), a naturally occurring protein that protects lung tissue from breakdown and protects the lung's elasticity, is effective in slowing the progression of emphysema in patients ...
Cancer 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Lund University, Sweden, have bioengineered a novel molecule which has been proven to successfully kill tumour cells.
Cancer 3 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
An article published on the journal Nature describes the major role that Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) —an enzyme of cellular energy metabolism— plays in the regulation of the cellular senescence induce ...
Cancer 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists at the School of Medicine have shown that their previously identified therapeutic approach to fight cancer via immune cells called macrophages also prompts the disease-fighting killer T cells ...
Cancer 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Australian scientists have charted the path of insulin action in cells in precise detail like never before. This provides a comprehensive blueprint for understanding what goes wrong in diabetes.
1 hour ago | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
The level of immunity to the recently circulating H7N9 influenza virus in an urban and rural population in Vietnam is very low, according to the first population level study to examine human immunity to the virus, which was ...
40 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Researchers at Emory University have identified a protein that stimulates a pair of "orphan receptors" found in the brain, solving a long-standing biological puzzle and possibly leading to future treatments for neurological ...
37 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Widely available in pharmacies and health stores, phosphatidylserine is a natural food supplement produced from beef, oysters, and soy. Proven to improve cognition and slow memory loss, it's a popular treatment for older ...
7 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In a striking, unexpected discovery, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have determined that vitamin C kills drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) bacteria in laboratory culture. The finding ...
52 minutes ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Prostaglandin analogues (PGAs), drugs which lower intraocular pressure, are often the first line of treatment for people with glaucoma, but their use is not without risks. PGAs have long been associated with blurred vision, ...
39 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0