New radiotherapy treatments developed by Polish researchers
3 January 2012
Scientists at the Polish National Centre for Nuclear Research
(NCBJ)have developed two new radiopharmaceuticals for cancer treatment.
The invention has been awarded a silver medal during the Innova 2012
Fair in Brussels and is soon going to be produced on an industrial
scale to give more options for oncology treatment.
The new technology to produce 90Y (yttrium) and177Lu (lutetium)
radioisotopes was developed at the NCBJ Radioisotope Centre POLATOM
within the framework of a three-year, 7.8 million PLN project partly
financed from the Innovative Economy Programme of the European
Regional Development Fund.
Polish researchers have shown that both radio isotopes (so-far
produced only at a small scale) in combination with such
biologically active substances as peptides and monoclonal antibodies
may form extremely effective medicines to cure some cancers. The new
radioisotopes will be a base to produce innovative
radiopharmaceuticals capable of effectively and safely treat cancer
A new production line for these radioisotopes has been developed
in POLATOM labs in Świerk, and work to start pilot production is in
progress. The first produced batches and a complete
analytical/technological/validation documentation will be a basis to
apply for formal registration of both radionuclides as
"The new radioisotope preparations have been named by us Itrapol
and Lutapol. They are precursors necessary to produce
radiopharmaceuticals ie highly specialized medicines useful in
oncology. They will help to devise more effective ways to fight
cancer,” explains Associate Professor Renata Mikołajczak,
Radioisotpe Centre POLATOM Director Proxy for Scientific Matters.
"Technological solutions we have developed may be used to produce
both radionuclides at an industrial scale. Increased supply of
radioisotopes to the market should increase availability of the
derivative cancer treatment radiopharmaceuticals, and help to
disseminate new forms of internal radiotherapy that are capable to
improve quality of life of several cancer patients”.
The developed technology features high specific activity (that
directly influences efficacy of radiotherapy) and high
chemical/radiological purity (ie low level of contamination with
other ions/nuclides) of the 90Y (Itrapol) and 177Lu (Lutapol)
preparations. Besides, the applied state-of-the art solutions limit
amount of the by-produced chemical/radioactive waste.
"Production of pilot batches of Itrapol and Lutapol will be a
world-class success. Our works are a perfect example of how
scientific achievements may find their applications in every-day
life, in this case in a particularly sensitive area related to
saving human lives,” points out Professor Grzegorz Wrochna, NCBJ
Director General. "Isotopes produced for medicine in research
reactors are an exemplification of benefits brought about by
ionizing radiation. Without the radiation the progress observed in
medicine would not be possible”.
According to Polish Society of Endocrinology, global occurrence
of endocrine tumours is about 30 cases per year per 1 million
population. That means more than 17,000 new cases each year are
diagnosed in Europe, with a population of 577 million people.
Nuclear medicine is currently one of the fastest growing branch
among all medical sciences. Intensive development observed in
isotope diagnostics is in particular attributable to the PET
technique. Radionuclide therapeutic techniques are developing also
very quickly. Growth of demand for radiopharmaceuticals is a
world-wide trend: in US the growth rate is estimated for about 30%
annually, similar growth of interest is also observed in Poland.