Our research aims to develop diagnostic and therapeutic tools for cancer fighting by studying the vectorization of radionuclides to cancer cells and their biological effects.
Our research program is structured around three main areas:
The main objective of this strategy is to eradicate cancer cells using various radiolabelled vectors such as antibodies and their fragments, peptides, Affitins and liposomes. For instance, the efficacy of radioimmunotherapy (RIT) has been demonstrated in the treatment of certain lymphomas for which it is integrated into the therapeutic arsenal. Nantes’ nuclear medicine department is at the forefront of this development in France and is pursuing its lymphoma research activity by targeting new antigens or applying two-steps RIT to the treatment of small cell lung cancer.
The Nuclear Oncology team is one of the few French teams to develop the use of alpha emitters in this targeting approach.
The second objective is to develop molecular imaging, particularly positron emission tomography (PET) of cancers. This last way provides crucial information for improving the therapeutic management of cancer: disease staging, proliferative capacity, prognosis, objectification of the effect of a treatment, therapeutic follow-up, etc. The latter is crucial for improving the therapeutic management of cancer.
Targeted radiotherapy and molecular imaging use similar techniques; radionuclides (adapted to each goal), vectors, radiolabelling, medical physics. They also agree that targeted radiotherapy needs molecular imaging: expression of the target antigen, effectiveness of targeting, quantitative imaging for dosimetry.
Our team develops the use of alpha particle emitters in therapy. We also combine this molecular radiotherapy with other approaches. Indeed, it is now clearly established that the action of ionizing radiation is not limited to direct cytotoxicity on tumour cells but that these radiation are able, in particular, to elicit an immune response. With this in mind, we are working on studying the biological effects of alpha ionizing radiation on tumour tissues.
Our project aims to combine these approaches to propose innovations and drive them, over the years, from the laboratory to the clinic.
This transfer involves translational research using animal models carrying induced (mouse) or spontaneous (dog) tumours to answer questions arising in the clinical practice of vectorized radiotherapy and molecular imaging.
Our multidisciplinary team develops a broad expertise in chemistry, radiochemistry, radiobiology, immunology, medical physics, protein engineering and preclinical imaging (Applied Multimodal Imaging Centre – CIMA) to support nuclear medicine.