The scientific objective of the IRON « Innovative Radiopharmaceuticals in Oncology and Neurology » Labex is to develop innovative radiopharmaceuticals and transfer them to the clinic for molecular imaging diagnosis (PET: Positron Emission Tomography) in neurology and oncology and targeted radionuclide therapy of cancer.
These radiopharmaceuticals will participate in the development of personalized medicine, to guide patients to appropriate targeted therapies or treat tumor disease refractory to conventional treatment.
To achieve this objective, the IRON Labex is based on:
- an ambitious cooperative translational research program in nuclear medicine,
- research teams with complementary areas of expertise, from innovative radionuclide production to clinical research, located in Angers, Caen, Orléans, Nantes, Rennes, Strasbourg, Toulouse, et Tours,
- a network of cyclotrons producing fluor-18 (Caen, Tours, Toulouse), but also innovative radionuclides for diagnostic applications (copper-64, scandium-44/44m, gallium-68, zirconium-89) and therapy (copper-67, scandium-47, astatine-211) (cyclotron ARRONAX in Nantes, cyclotron Cyrcé installed in 2013 in Strasbourg).
The scientific program of the IRON Labex is organized in 3 Work Packages (WP) including 9 collaborative translational multidisciplinary projects as follow:
- WP1 : Functional imaging of neurological diseases
Projet 1 : Abnormal protein deposit
Projet 2 : Neurotransmission
Projet 3 : Neuroinflammation
- WP2 : Functional and phenotype imaging in neurology and oncology
Projet 4 : Hypoxia
Projet 5 : Tumour imaging
- WP3 : Nanomedicine and radionuclide therapy
Projet 7 : Glioblastoma
Projet 8 : Hepatic tumours
Projet 9 : CEA-expressing tumours
Projet 10 : Alpha-immunotherapy
For all these multidisciplinary projects, 5 challenges have been identified:
- to make innovative radionuclides available to preclinical and clinical assessment and competitive options for imaging and therapy
- to design and prepare original radiolabelled molecules targeting specific diseases for imaging and therapy
- to be able to assess these new tracers in relevant preclinical models for molecular imaging and targeted radionuclide therapy
- to transfer candidate radiopharmaceuticals to the clinic and implement early phase clinical trials
- to understand and minimize the stress associated to the use of radioactivity in nuclear medicine for patients and medical staff.
To overcome these challenges, highly competent scientific experts of the IRON Labex will work together within 5 Task Forces (TF) :
- Innovative radionuclides
- From chemistry to drug formulation
- Preclinical assessment
- Clinical transfer
- Social and Human Sciences