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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
A study on targeted alpha therapy of prostate cancer conducted by JRC Karlsruhe and University Hospital Heidelberg has won the 2017 Marie Curie Award of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM). The prestigious award recognizes the best study out of 2058 contributions submitted to the 2017 Annual Meeting of the EANM.
The study describes the ground breaking results of a first-in-human study of targeted alpha therapy of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer in 42 patients using 225Actinium-PSMA617. The alpha emitter labelled radiopharmaceutical 225Actinium-PSMA617 was developed and synthesized for the first time by JRC Karlsruhe in 2013. Since 2014 the novel compound has been tested clinically and provided to more than 180 prostate cancer patients through collaboration of JRC Karlsruhe with hospitals in Heidelberg, Munich and Pretoria. Therapy with 225Actinium-PSMA617 can induce remarkable responses in patients suffering from late stage metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer as shown in Fig. 1. The patient presented initially with a PSA value of approximately 3000 ng/ml and widespread metastatic disease. He achieved a complete remission following 4 treatments with 225Actinium-PSMA617 and still benefits from the successful therapy today.
Targeted Alpha Therapy is taking advantage of the unique properties of alpha radiation, in particular its high energy of several MeV and its very short range in human tissue of less than 0.1 mm, corresponding to only a few cell diameters. Therefore TAT allows selective irradiation and killing of tumor cells with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Targeted Alpha Therapy has been developed by JRC Karlsruhe for more than two decades from bench to bedside and successfully translated into clinical tests for therapy of prostate cancer, brain tumors, neuroendocrine tumors, bladder cancer, leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. To date 430 cancer patients have received TAT through studies conducted by JRC and its partner hospitals.
The annual meeting of the EANM is the largest conference in nuclear medicine and was attended by more than 6200 participants in 2017. The newest developments in clinical, translational and fundamental nuclear medicine were presented in 159 sessions in Vienna from October 21 through 25, 2017. The Marie Curie Award, bestowed with a prize money of 5000,- Euro, is given to the authors of the work which is, in terms of scientific quality, the best contribution at the annual EANM Congress.
Remarkably this is the third time a study co-authored by JRC authors Alfred Morgenstern and Frank Bruchertseifer received the EANM Marie Curie Award, following the 2008 award for a study on targeted alpha therapy of bladder carcinoma and the 2016 award for a study on targeted alpha therapy of brain tumors.