University of Wisconsin-Madison is hosting a national conference on targeted radionuclide therapy (TRT), a promising new technology that combines cytotoxic radioisotopes with molecularly targeted agents to produce an anti-cancer therapy capable of treating local or systemic disease.
The inaugural Targeted Radionuclide Therapy Consortium takes place from Sept. 20 to 22 and will gather medical physicists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, and laboratory researchers for a look at the state of this emerging technology. The recent approval of Lutathera, combining a somatostatin receptor-targeting peptide with the therapeutic radionuclide luthetium-177, for treatment of the pancreas and digestive tract tumors has lead to a resurgence of interest in TRT. Many more cancer-specific radiopharmaceuticals are in the pipeline.
“This is an exciting time for the field, and for us here in Madison, because we have research strengths in this area, as well as new companies poised to deliver the isotopes needed for both research and clinical treatment of cancer patients,’’ said Dr. Steve Cho, a radiology professor who will speak at the conference and who is conducting clinical trials using TRT agents in prostate cancer.
Other UW Carbone speakers include Dr. Jamey Weichert, of radiology, who holds a number of patents in the field and founded two biotechnology companies, Dr. Zachary Morris, of human oncology, and Dr. Bryan Bednarz of medical physics. Morris and Weichert recently won a National Cancer Institute Moonshoot Award for research combining targeted TRT and immunotherapy.
The event is being hosted by the UW Carbone Cancer Center, and the departments of human oncology, radiology, and medical physics. Industry sponsors include SHINE Medical Technologies and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, companies now under construction in Rock County that will produce the radioisotopes for the therapy.
“Kudos to the University of Wisconsin for hosting this event at a very exciting time for TRT as a promising cancer treatment modality,’’ said Dr. Jacek Capala, who spearheads the TRT efforts at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Capala will moderate the conference, along with Drs. Joseph Grudzinski, and Reinier Hernandez, of medical physics, and Dr. Yusuf Menda of the University of Iowa.