Supplies of a radioisotope that could provide the radiation payload for a new generation of cancer treatments have improved, now that International Isotopes has entered the market.
The hope is that the radioisotope will be effective when delivered using a targeting technology, such as an antibody, against a range of tumour types.
The company, a manufacturer of nuclear medicine calibration and reference standards and radioisotopes for medical devices and clinical research, announced its plans for the launch of the product, called lutetium-177, at the European Association of Nuclear Medicine Congress taking place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, this week.
Lutetium-177 is currently being investigated in more than 30 different clinical applications including treatment of colon cancer, metastatic bone cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and lung cancer. Clinical research with lutetium-177 has been ongoing for several years and the isotope has demonstrated certain chemical and radiological properties which make it potentially very well suited as a cancer therapy product.
Until last year, there was no reliable source of lutetium-177 to warrant its use in radiopharmaceutical drug development. Perkin-Elmer became the first company to make the radioisotope available on a worldwide scale, and the availability of another supplier bodes well for the future development of lutetium-177-based therapies.
International Isotopes is obtaining its lutetium-177 through an agreement put in place with the University of Missouri Research Reactor in the USA,said to be a leading developer of isotopes suitable for patient trials.
The company's CEO, Steve Laflin, said: "MURR has a very reliable production source for these isotopes," adding that International Isotopes can now take the product to the next level and offer it on a global basis.
In preparation for the commercialisation of the lutetium-177 product, International Isotopes has completed a facility expansion, including hot cell and laboratory equipment installations.