ACRF intern recounts cutting-edge research at Centenary Institute

ACRF intern and biology graduate Lila, recently had the invaluable opportunity to immerse herself in the cutting-edge research at the Centenary Institute. Through her insightful observations and takeaways, Lila offers an enlightening recount of her learnings. Delve into her account below:

“I spent 3 days in total working at Centenary alongside a Nuclear Physicist and Biomedical Scientist investigating possible theranostic pairings of radioisotopes to the Cell Death Indicator (GSAO-NODAGA) to diagnose and treat tumours.

The first stage of the experiment is to determine at what conditions each potential radioisotope binds to the NODAGA chelator of the Cell Death Indicator. Initially testing is done with a non-radioactive isotope of the same element to determine these conditions and later these optimum conditions will be repeated with the radioactive version to be tested in the lab and in clinical settings. In the images, I am combining the CDI with different isotopes to incubate in different conditions before testing how much has bound successfully using High Performance Liquid Chromatography. The different conditions that we tested were higher temperatures, length of time at each temperature and pH.

It was so exciting to play a small part in the development of a potential treatment option that could revolutionise cancer therapies giving a localised way to both diagnose and treat with minimal effect on the healthy tissue.”

In 2021 ACRF awarded a grant of $1.5 million to establish the ACRF Molecular Theranostics Laboratory at the Centenary Institute. The groundbreaking laboratory will allow doctors to monitor and adjust treatment in real-time and tackle the problem of residual tumour cells, to prevent cancers from developing treatment resistance.