Pure accelerated radioisotope beams have been used for 50 years for fundamental physics as illustrated more recently with the discovery of pear shape exotic nuclei in 2013; CERN-ISOLDE plays a central role in developing accelerator technologies and fostering collaborative approaches to advance this field of isotope mass separation online. Our recent contribution was the use of nanomaterials for more intense and reliable beam production and laser ion sources.
Radioisotopes are widely used for functional imaging and is expected to play a major role in cancer treatment with new alpha emitters; 223Radium chloride (Xofigo®) radiopharmaceutical is now used as a treatment and pain relief drug in advanced bone cancers resistant to hormones. However, either shortage in the supply of the commonly used 99mTechnetium or lack of access to new chemical elements with adequate radioactive emission properties is a severe treat to supply these drugs or develop personalized treatment that combine functional imaging and therapy.
Ovarian cancers have poor prognosis;This type of cancer is difficult to treat with external radiotherapy, because of possible presence of metastasis and because this region is difficult to irradiate without collateral damages. The most current cure combines chemotherapy and surgery. This type of cancer is therefore very well suited to investigate new forms of treatments using theranostic isotope pairs to detect metastasis and have selective systemic radiotherapy. A new possible target (TEM1/endosialin), has been sidentified and an antibody was shown to specifically target this marker in preclinical imaging studies; this now opens the route for investigations of personalized treatments combining functional imaging and either alpha-emitting or beta-emitting isotopes.
MEDICIS-PROMED will train a new generation of 15 entrepreneurial scientists, which will be able to bridge the different disciplines across fundamental research institutions, private companies and hospitals, which is required for the rapid marketing of new types of equipments in companies and drugs used for radiopharmaceuticals in cancer treatments in hospitals. This will be done using radioactive ion beams that had up to now never been used to produce dedicated medical batches for radiopharmaceuticals or to perform hadrontherapy treatments directly with PET imaging 11C ions. This will become now possible with the ongoing construction of CERN-MEDICIS facility to extend the capabilities of the ISOLDE facility.