Walloon radioisotope in the fight against cancer
BioWin supports its members endeavours by helping them obtain funding for innovative research projects from the Walloon Region. The cluster helped IRE-Elit in the creation and marketing of two isotope generators.
Wallonia can pride itself on harbouring some of the key players in the radiopharmaceutical sector. IRE/IRE-Elit, Trasis and ANMI – to name but three of those in the field – are innovative companies that are applying their know-how and experience to advance the use of radioisotopes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The BioWin cluster supports their endeavours by helping them obtain funding for innovative research projects from the Walloon Region. For example, this has aided IRE-Elit in the creation and marketing of two isotope generators.
Arming antibodies with isotopes
L’Institut National des Radioéléments (IRE) in Fleurus produces radioisotopes that are used, in particular, to create cancer treatments or to improve diagnosis. In recent years, IRE has participated in several BioWin cluster projects, acting as the coordinator for RadioTarget and as a partner in Gage.
RadioTarget was designed to develop and market a therapeutic radiopharmaceutical product to treat cancerous metastases of the liver. Valéry Host, Research & Development Department Manager clarifies the different fields of expertise that were brought together in the project: “First we had to identify the accessible target cells. We were able to do this using technology from the metastasis research laboratory at the Liège UCH university hospital. Then we had to work with a partner with the ability to develop the specific monoclonal antibodies that would target the liver metastases of the various cancers”. IRE-Elit’s contribution consisted of developing a technology capable of producing the radioisotope (in this case Rhenium-188) used to mark the monoclonal antibody.
Rheni EO is born
2 years into the project, IRE-Elit achieved the objective set by the cluster project. A production method for the radioactive substance was developed that met cGMP requirements. The product could be administered directly to patients by specialists to diagnose or treat cancerous illnesses.
Host: “The RadioTarget project gave us the impetus to finalise a marketable generator which we called Rheni Eo. The module created in the project is used to extract the dose from the generator and put it into a medium that is suitable for carrying out the linkage with the biological molecule.
Furthermore, thanks to the contacts made at events organised by the BioWin cluster and AWEX, the doors to international markets have opened up. The generator is now sold in radiopharmacies in France, China and Taiwan. Several clinical trials are under way in the two latter countries in various research centres”.
In France, the radioisotope is used in the treatment of primary liver cancers whilst, in China, the substance is used in the palliative treatment of the bone pain caused by metastases.
“The RadioTarget project gave us the impetus to finalise a marketable generator which we called Rheni Eo.