National Institutes of Health (NIH) has granted a five-year, $2.6 M to Thomas Jefferson University’s Department of Radiology as well as Jefferson’s Kimmel Cancer Center to study an efficient revolutionary method, through which prostate cancers as well as recurrent diseases can be precisely identified and staged, without the need for more confirmation biopsies.
Mathew Thakur, PhD, professor of Radiology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and the Director of the Laboratories of Radiopharmaceutical Research and Molecular Imaging
The new technique integrates a positron emission tomography (PET) scan with a novel imaging agent.
The study is directed by Mathew Thakur, PhD, professor of Radiology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.
Prostate cancer can be diagnosed effectively by using ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and Prostate specific antigen (PSA) measurements, wherein an invasive biopsy is needed for histologic confirmation.
Over 65% of the 1.5 M biopsies being conducted annually in the U.S., represent benign pathology, where these standard diagnostic tools have high false-positive rate. Hence, noninvasive methods for staging prostate cancer, detecting recurrent disease and imaging metastatic lesions with precision became the need of the hour.
In order to evaluate prostate cancer tumors using PET imaging, the researchers studied Cu-64 peptide biomolecules. These agents are capable of detecting prostate cancer through a biomarker called VPAC1. The biomarker is overexpressed as the with respect to tumor development.
Dr. Thakur’s Former studies with Cu-64 peptides were effective for stratifying breast cancer. A preclinical study published in 2009 Journal of Nuclear Medicine shows that tumors overexpressing the VPAC1 oncogene in mice were detected more precisely by 64Cu-TP3805 than the usual 18F-FDG.
This NIH grant will enable the researchers to test this new approach in mice as well as humans. Two Cu-64 peptides specific for VPAC1 in mice will be analyzed followed by a feasibility study using Cu-64 peptide for 25 pre-operative prostate cancer patients.