Theranostics is an emerging field in research and medicine, and refers to compounds that can act as both diagnostic and therapeutic because they home in on the same target. One of the earliest instances of this kind of compound was the FDA approval of Dako’s (Agilent) HercepTest® and Genentech's Herceptin® for the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, respectively.
Informed Together focuses on theranostics that go hand-in-hand with molecular imaging. In these versions, when the compound is in diagnostic form, they are attached to a radioactive beacon that can be seen on specialized diagnostic imaging scanners (i.e. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) or single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT)). As a diagnostic, they are given in such small quantities that only the very sensitive camera can see them but they don't disturb the human body.
To turn them into therapeutics, the radioactive beacon is switched out with a radioactive payload that can target disease. This is the real cornerstone of personalized or precision medicine, in that the therapeutic version of the compound preferentially targets specific diseased cells that the physician has confirmed are there with the diagnostic. This is an advantage over providing a therapy that can affect the entire body (like in chemotherapy or general radiation treatments). This means less toxic side effects for the patient, as well as the ability to monitor disease progression and how well the therapy is working.
Radiotherapeutics are just gaining traction in routine clinical use. The FDA has recently approved Progenic's AZEDRA for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients 12 years and older with cancers known as pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. This follows on the heels of the FDA approving Novartis' Lutathera for the treatment of a cancer known as gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Other radiopharmaceutical-based therapies for prostate cancer are coming down the pipeline and in active clinical trials with a number of pharmaceutical companies and universities. For more information on these drugs or clinical trials for theranostics, please visit our News and Facility and Clinical Trials pages.
Informed Together believes in theranostics as the future of medicine here today, and supports the efforts of scientists and physicians working towards novel compounds to diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases. To learn more on individual medical imaging modalities that are used in this field, read more on PET, CT, MRI, X-ray, Mammography, Ultrasound, and SPECT.