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A multidisciplinary HUG team launches a new study of innovative radioligand therapy (RLT)

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A new radioligand to treat glioblastoma and digestive tumors evaluated as a world first at the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG).



RLT is a nuclear medicine-based approach that destroys malignant tumors through targeted irradiation. Its specificity lies in the use of a radioactive element embedded in a chemical compound designed to bind specifically to integrins, receptors overexpressed in tumors.

This Phase 1 clinical study is evaluating the safety and appropriate dosage of the radioligand. The first patients are currently being recruited to evaluate this promising new approach in the fight against cancer.

As part of this Phase 1 study, the HUG is one of the expert centers chosen to explore the toxicity, safety and assay of the integrin-targeting radioligand. The latter, called Lu-FF58, targets alpha-v beta -3 integrin (αvβ3) and alpha-v beta -5 integrin (αvβ5) using a radioactive isotope of lutetium, Lu177.

Glioblastoma is the most common brain cancer in adults, affecting around 5 in 100’000 people every year. It results from the abnormal growth of central nervous system cells called astrocytes, a type of glial cell. The median survival time is 15 months. Equally devastating, pancreatic and esophageal cancers together account for 3’000 cases in Switzerland every year. At the advanced stage, survival is one year, attesting to the limited number of existing therapeutic solutions.

Integrins, extracellular matrix receptors, are involved in cell migration, invasion, proliferation and survival. As such, they are involved in the formation and invasion of metastases in these three particularly invasive cancers, and could be an ideal target for treatment.

“These severe pathologies are often associated with a poor prognosis. With this new radioligand, which targets integrins, we are opening up a new path and a new hope”, explains Prof. Valentina Garibotto, Head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging at the HUG and a participant in the clinical study for the university hospital.


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Source: HUG