By Daniel Webster, dWeb.News Publisher
| Source: IBA SA
Collaboration marks first step in evaluating the potential of the rapidly growing theranostics market
Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium, 15 September 2021 – IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A., EURONEXT), the world leader in particle accelerator technology, and SCK CEN (Belgian Nuclear Research Center) today announce a strategic R&D partnership to enable the production of Actinimum-225 (225Ac), a novel radioisotope which has significant potential in the treatment of cancer.
New perspectives in the treatment of cancer
Nuclear medicine has evolved considerably over recent years with the emergence of radiotheranostics, a modality which combines targeted diagnosis and therapy with radio-isotopes, offering an important alternative in the treatment of many cancers. Radiotheranostics uses radio-isotopes that, upon disintegration, emit radiation which allows cancer cells to be pinpointed and/or destroyed.
Actinium-225: fighting both prevalent and rare cancers
Among these isotopes, one of the most promising is alpha-emitting Actinium-225. Its useful properties are that it can kill cancer cells in a short time. This allows for a low cytotoxic potency (which is limited to a few cancerous cells and sparing the surrounding healthy tissue). Moreover its half-life (10 days) enables a smooth process for logistics and centralized distribution. Numerous studies and extensive research have been conducted to date. They aim to combat high-prevalence cancers such as the prostate, colon, breast, lung, and colon (leukemia) and kidney cancers. However, they also target rarer forms of cancer, like glioblastoma which is the most deadly form of aggressive brain cancer.
One of the main challenges to making this therapeutic solution accessible for the greatest number of patients is ensuring the availability of high-quality Actinium-225 in large quantities. By joining their unique expertise and resources, SCK CEN and IBA will be able to work towards the large-scale production of Actinium-225 for patient use. Concurrently, this collaboration will allow them to establish themselves as leading global partners in the production of Actinium-225.
A new generation of nuclear medicine
This strategic R&D partnership consists of an in-depth evaluation of the technical and economic feasibility of the project. SCK CEN, IBA and the Belgian government have decided to build and commission a production unit at the SCK CEN site, Mol, Belgium.
Alignment with Belgian coalition agreement and European recovery plan
This collaboration highlights the implementation of the Belgian coalition agreement, which pledges significantly more and better cancer treatments and confirms Belgium’s leadership at the forefront of nuclear medicine. Pierre-Yves Dermagne (Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Economy and Employment), Tinne Van der Straeten (Belgian Minister of Energy) and Thomas Dermine (Belgian State Secretary for Recovery and Strategic Investments) support this collaboration.
This initiative is also in alignment with the recent European recovery plan for Belgium – a plan in which the European Commission designated Lutetium-177 and Actinium-225 as promising isotopes.
“We are excited to join forces with such a prestigious and highly experienced partner as SCK CEN” said Olivier Legrain, CEO of IBA. We look forward to evaluating the strategic growth potential in this significant new market, given our global leadership in proton therapy and nuclear medicine. We look forward to taking the first steps in evaluating the strategic growth potential in this significant new market.”
Eric van Walle, Director General of SCK CEN, commented: “Theranostics have the potential to revolutionize the way we treat cancer. We can partner with IBA to use our nuclear knowledge to transform radioactive waste isotopes into therapeutic compounds. We will use our complementary expertise to help patients reap the full benefits of the latest generation of nuclear medicine. “
“I am particularly pleased with this unprecedented partnership between two key players with unparalleled expertise,” said Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Vice Prime Minister. “This partnership in research has great potential for the future. The one of the players (SCK CEN), a federal research centre, is internationally recognized. The other (IBA) is a global leader in particle accelerator industry (IBA). Pierre-Yves Dermagne says that this union will allow patients to be treated more efficiently.
Tinne Van der Straeten, Minister of Energy, stresses the importance of this project and the expertise of both partners. “Belgium wants to remain a world leader in the production of medical isotopes. Therefore, we have provided support in the framework of the European recovery plan to allow SCK CEN to innovate in the field of therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. SCK CEN, IBA and other experts have formed a R&D partnership to work together on isotopes for more targeted cancer treatments. I am delighted to support these developments in Belgium and watch them grow.”
“This strategic R&D partnership is one of the first concrete results of the recovery plan, which allocates a total of more than EUR 800 million additional resources to research and development,” explains Thomas Dermine, State Secretary for Recovery and Strategic Investments. “SCK CEN and IBA have joined forces to fight cancer. This is a great example of how Belgium can play a crucial role in the development and application of new technologies and techniques around the world. The medical application of radioisotopes is an area of global excellence for Belgium that the recovery plan aims to consolidate.”
IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) is the world leader in particle accelerator technology. This company is the world’s largest supplier of equipment and services for proton therapy. It is considered the most advanced form radiation therapy. IBA is also a leader in the areas of industrial sterilization and radiopharmaceuticals. The company, based in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, employs approximately 1,500 people worldwide.
IBA is listed on the pan-European stock exchange EURONEXT (IBA: Reuters IBAB.BR and Bloomberg IBAB.BB).
More information can be found at: http://www.iba-worldwide.com
About SCK CEN
SCK CEN is one of Belgium’s largest research centres. It has more than 850 employees who devote themselves every day to developing peaceful applications of nuclear energy. SCK CEN’s research activities focus on three major themes: safety of nuclear facilities, development of nuclear medicine, and protection of the environment and population against ionising radiation. SCK CEN is internationally recognized and shares its knowledge through many publications and training courses to maintain this extraordinary pool of talent.
More information can be found at: http://www.sckcen.be
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