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Concluded CRP - Coordinated Research Project (CRP F22053) on Therapeutic Radiopharmaceuticals Labelled with New Emerging Radionuclides (67Cu,186Re, 47Sc)

Success story

The CRP covered the production of Cu-67, Re-186 and Sc-47 radioisotopes and radiopharmaceuticals using cyclotrons and research reactors among 14 Member States from four continents - some of whom attended a meeting at IAEA headquarters in 2016 and posed for this photo. (Photo: A. Jalilian/IAEA)

The preparation and quality control of 67Cu, 186Re and 47Sc radionuclides, as well as the development and preparation of radiopharmaceuticals based on them, were evaluated in a Coordinated Research Project (CRP) that ended recently. This IAEA CRP identified important technical issues related to the production and quality control of these radionuclides with theranostic potential using research reactors and accelerators and related to starting material availability. Guidelines and protocols for production routes using medical cyclotrons and research reactors have been prepared and are now available to experts from around the world.

These theranostic radioisotopes can be used in the treatment of various human cancers, such as breast, ovarian and intestinal tumors, attached to the targeting biomolecules such as monoclonal antibodies for use in an important therapeutic modality called radioimmunotherapy.

The overall objective of the CRP was to formulate guidelines to enhance and strengthen the expertise and capability of experts to deploy emerging 67Cu, 186Re and 47Sc therapeutic radioisotopes with ‘theranostic’ properties from research reactors and accelerators for medical applications, as well as to assimilate new developments and research initiatives.

The specific CRP research objectives were:

  • exploring efficient production methods of 67Cu, 186Re and 47Sc radionuclides using research reactors and accelerators for research and clinical use;
  • developing targetry procedures for the radionuclide production;
  • developing quality control procedures based on the production methods;
  • developing target recovery procedures based on the production methods;
  • developing preliminary procedures for preparation of potential radiopharmaceuticals based on the radioisotopes of interest and preclinical studies.

Outputs of the CRP

The CRP results were applied through an IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Programme regional training course in the Asia-Pacific Region titled Workshop on the preparation and quality control of therapeutic radiolabeled antibodies. The workshop took place in November 2018 in the Republic of Korea and focused on the production and quality control of radiocopper labelled antibodies with 26 experts from 15 different countries participating. In March 2020, the team from the Republic of Korea announced the production of clinical grade Cu-67 for therapeutic applications.

The CRP team, together with other scientists, published a thematic issue related to the CRP titled “Production of non-conventional theranostic radionuclides and radiopharmaceuticals” in the Journal of Current Radiopharmaceuticals, including a review paper titled IAEA activities on 67Cu, 186Re, 47Sc Theranostic radionuclides and Radiopharmaceuticals.

A further output of the project is an IAEA publication titled “Therapeutic Radiopharmaceuticals Labelled with New Emerging Radionuclides (67Cu,186Re, 47Sc)”, which will be available to Member States in 2021.

Participants from Egypt, France, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United States of America worked together for four years in separate technical sub-groups using cyclotron and/or research reactor production of the radionuclides and related radiopharmaceuticals. For further information related to this CRP, please visit the CRP webpage.

The 67Cu, 186Re and 47Sc radionuclides have interesting physico-chemical properties, which can be produced through the international network of medical cyclotrons included in the IAEA Database Cyclotrons used for Radionuclide Production, and more than 60 research reactors included in the IAEA Research Reactor Database.

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