TOKYO, Oct 19, 2021 - (JCN Newswire) - Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), Tohoku University and Kyoto University have become the world's first (1) to establish technology for the highly efficient and high-quality production of actinium-225 (225Ac), a substance required for a form of radiation therapy known as targeted alpha therapy (TAT). TAT is a new cancer therapy which combines a substance that emits alpha particles which destroy cancer cells with a compound that selectively accumulates in cancer cells. The combined alpha-emitting agent is administered to a patient to attack cancer cells within the body (Figure 1). It is known to be effective against forms of cancers that are difficult to treat with existing methods of treatment, including cancer cells that are spread widely through the body, and its practical applications are eagerly awaited. The three-party team has now established technology that enables production of high-quality 225Ac in an efficient manner without producing impurities, which are usually difficult to separate, by using an electron linear accelerator (2) with radium-226 (226Ra) as a source material.
Hitachi, Tohoku University, and Kyoto University will continue research and development efforts to bring this production technology into commercial use, to help put TAT into clinical practice and ultimately improve cancer patients' quality of life (QoL). In addition, Hitachi is set to start a study to evaluate the applicability (3) of 225Ac produced using this new technology in pharmaceutical products in October 2021 in collaboration with the National Cancer Center Japan. Hitachi makes effort to pursue research and development that promotes the Security & Safety (healthy and comfortable life for each individual) of society.
Types of radiation therapy include external and internal. External radiation uses beams of radiation delivered outside the body to target cancer cells, while internal radiation involves internal delivery of radiation. TAT is a form of treatment in which alpha-emitting agents are administered into the body to selectively target cancer cells, while producing fewer side effects. It is a potentially promising form of treatment especially for cancers that are difficult to treat with existing methods, including advanced cancer where cells are spread widely through the body. Following a report*4 of its high therapeutic effects in patients with metastatic prostate cancer, therapies using 225Ac as an alpha-emitter have been studied for their efficacy and safety in clinical trials (5) across the world. However, the only established method of producing 225Ac that has been one that uses thorium-229, a nuclear material (6) that is difficult to handle, and it produces only a small amount of 225Ac (63 GBq/y).(7) This has posed obstacles to any widespread use of TAT, as 225Ac is not available in a sufficient amount.
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