NIBIB researchers conduct successful Phase 1 clinical trial
Researchers at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) have developed a new radiotracer to diagnose prostate cancer and conducted a successful Phase I clinical trial. Phase I trials are typically conducted with a small group of people in order to establish safety and identify any possible side effects.
Xiaoyuan Chen, Ph.D., Chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Nanomedicine at NIBIB, and his team attempted to solve this problem by developing a radiotracer that could identify prostate cancer at all stages. Radiotracers are made up of carrier molecules that are bonded tightly to a radioactive atom. Like a key fitting into a lock, the carrier molecules bind to certain receptors or biomarkers and the radioactive atoms enable PET or SPECT scanners to image areas where the tracers have collected in large numbers. This new tracer targets two biomarkers, gastrin-releasing peptide receptor (GRPR) and integrin αvβ3, that often indicate prostate cancer. Previous tracers have targeted GRPR but this new tracer is one of the first dual-receptor target tracers, or tracers that target more than one biomarker, to be studied in humans.
“We are far from finding one method to diagnose and monitor prostate cancer, but this is a step in that direction,” says Chen. “Targeting multiple biomarkers could potentially allow us to identify prostate cancer at its early stages as well as after metastasis in one scan.”
Chen believes that dual-receptor targeting tracers could one day be the primary method for diagnosing and monitoring prostate cancer reducing the amount of medical scans a patient would be forced to undergo and streamlining the diagnostic and therapeutic process.
Clinical Translation of a Dual Integrin αvβ3– and Gastrin-Releasing Peptide Receptor–Targeting PET Radiotracer, 68Ga-BBN-RGD. Jingjing Zhang, Gang Niu, Lixin Lang, Fang Li, Xinrong Fan, Xuefeng Yan, Shaobo Yao, Weigang Yan, Li Huo, Libo Chen, Zhiyuan Li, Zhaohui Zhu, and Xiaoyuan Chen. The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. 01 Feb. 2017.