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Quantum Life and Medical Science Directorate

Molecular Imaging and Theranostics

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Radiopharmaceuticals as a new treatment option for intractable cancers

QST is engaged in research and development of Targeted Radioisotope Therapy (TRT). TRT is known as a radiotherapy  using radiopharmaceuticals with cytotoxic radionuclides which are administrated orally or intraveenously. These radiophamaceuticals are able to bind specific proteins and hormone receptors on cancer cells, which allows for more accurate delivery of radiation to targeted cancer.

Recently, QST started a joint clinical trial of our newly-developed TRT agent, Cu-64 ATSM, a radionuclide which emits β-rays, with National Cancer Center Hospital for the treatment of brain tumors. This is the first time in Japan to have a clinical study of Japan-made TRT agent.

Hot lab.

In 2016, QST succeeded in manufacturing astatine-211 (At-211), a radionuclide which emits α-rays, using our advanced cyclotoron technology. In QST, several At-211radiolabeled radiopharmaceuticals have been developed and showed their strong theraputic effects in intractable cancers such as malignant pheochromocytoma, gastric cancer with pertoneal dissemination, and malignant melanoma. Some of these radiopharmaceuticals are expected to move on to clinical trials soon.

In TRT, treatment eligibility can be confirmed through molecular imaging with diagnostic RI on the same (or similar) chemical structure of a radiopharmaceutical replacing therapeutic RI. "Theranotics" is new term which means the combination of therapy and diagnosis and has become a new field of medicine. In QST, this "Thearnostics" research is also conducted actively.

Devided injection of radiopharmaceuticals in glove box


Research Department

High-Profile Researh Papers

  • "Oxygen sensing ability of positronium atom for tumor hypoxia imaging", Kengo Shibuya, Haruo Saito, Fumihiko Nishikido, Miwako Takahashi, and Taiga Yamaya, ​Communication Physics (2020), doi:
  • "Marriage of black phosphorus and Cu2+ as effective photothermal agents for PET-guided combination cancer therapy" Kuan Hu, Lin Xie, Yiding Zhang, Masayuki Hanyu, Zhimin Yang, Kotaro Nagatsu, Hisashi Suzuki, Jiang Ouyang, Xiaoyuan Ji, Junjie Wei, Hao Xu, Omid C. Farokhzad, Steven H. Liang, Lu Wang, Wei Tao, Ming-Rong Zhang, Nature Communications (2020), doi:
  • "Immuno-OpenPET: a novel approach for early diagnosis and image-guided surgery for small resectable pancreatic cancer" Yukie Yoshii, Hideaki Tashima, Yuma Iwao, Eiji Yoshida, Hidekatsu Wakizaka, Go Akamatsu, Taiga Yamaya, Hiroki Matsumoto, Mitsuyoshi Yoshimoto, Chika Igarashi, Fukiko Hihara, Tomoko Tachibana, Ming-Rong Zhang, Kotaro Nagatsu, Aya Sugyo, Atsushi B. Tsuji, Tatsuya Higashi, Scientific Reports (2020), doi:
  • "131I-IITM and 211At-AITM: Two Novel Small-molecule Radiopharmaceuticals Targeting Oncoprotein Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 1" Lin Xie, Masayuki Hanyu, Masayuki Fujinaga, Yiding Zhang, Kuan Hu, Katsuyuki Minegishi, Cuiping Jiang, Fuki Kurosawa, Yukie Morokoshi, Huizi Keiko Li, Sumitaka Hasegawa, Kotaro Nagatsu, Ming-Rong Zhang, J. Nuclear Medicine (2019), doi: