Based at the Centenary Institute in Sydney, the new ACRF Molecular Theranostics Laboratory will house world-leading research into the use of theranostics to treat cancer. A form of personalised cancer treatment for the patient, the term ‘theranostics’ refers to a combined therapy and diagnostics approach. An exciting and emerging field, theranostics has the potential to revolutionise cancer treatment, employing tumour markers to deliver a therapeutic isotope (radioactive drug) directly to tumour cells to kill them.
Two matching therapeutic isotopes are employed–the first identifies and labels the tumour cells. The second delivers the therapeutic radioisotope to the cancerous cell in a finely targeted search and destroy process. To date, the application of theranostics has been limited to a very small range of malignancies but there is real potential for extending the benefit to all cancers
Research programs at the new laboratory are set to include the ongoing development of a pan-tumour theranostic agent called Cell Death Indicator (CDI) that has the potential to benefit a much greater proportion of oncology patients.
CDI targets a common property of all solid tumours–dead and dying tumour cells. Once these cells have been identified, therapeutic radiation is then able to be delivered to adjacent viable tumour cells. It is anticipated that the theranostic approach will work against all types of solid tumours.
The ACRF Molecular Theranostics Laboratory will operate at the very forefront of the burgeoning theranostics research field, driving cancer discoveries in Australia and beyond.