Researchers from the Center for Nuclear Sciences and Technologies (C2TN), Instituto Superior Técnico, participate in PRISMAP – The European medical isotope programme: Production of high purity isotopes by mass separation – an European project that aims at providing a sustainable source of high purity grade new radioisotopes for medicine and for all researchers active in this field.
The project was recently approved for funding in the INFRAIA-2020-1 call of the Horizon 2020 Framework programme of the European Commission (integrating and opening research infrastructures of European interest) and officialy started in the beginning of May. PRISMAP has received a funding of almost €5M (4 995 257,5 €), of which €100,000 will be delivered to Técnico team.
The project is coordinated by Thierry Stora (CERN). PRISMAP federates a consortium of the key European intense neutron sources, isotope mass separation facilities and high-power accelerators and cyclotrons, with leading biomedical research institutes and hospitals active in the translation of the emerging radionuclides into medical diagnosis and treatment. In total, the project brings together 23 European institutions, including universities, research centres, hospitals and industry, from 13 countries.
The Portuguese team includes the researchers António Paulo, António Pereira Gonçalves, João Galamba Correia, Lurdes Gano and Paula Campello.
The C2TN will be responsible for the development of scientific research relevant to the consortium, namely: preparation of new nanostructured materials, based on uranium compounds, useful to be used as spallation targets for the production of innovative medical radioisotopes; and synthesis and preclinical evaluation of new molecules or nanoparticles labeled with poorly explored radioisotopes, aiming to introduce new radioactive drugs (radiopharmaceuticals) for applications in Molecular Imaging and Radiotherapy, in particular for the diagnosis, staging and treatment of cancer.
PRISMAP thus strives to create a paradigm shift in the early phase research on radiopharmaceuticals, targeted drugs for cancer, theranostics and personalised medicine.
According to researcher António Paulo, “an early detection of cancer through nuclear imaging techniques will be possible, as well as the subsequent selection of patients for treatment and their follow-up, based on radiolabeled molecules or nanoparticles that target cancer cells in different patients”. “Depending on the imaging data collected and within the scope of a theranostic approach, it is possible to eliminate cancer cells using a radiopharmaceuticals for therapy, similar to that used initially to obtain the images, for example replacing Tb-155 and Tb-161 in the chemical structure of those radiopharmaceuticals”.