Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty involving the application of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of some of the most aggressive types of cancer. The combination of nuclear technology and nuclear medicine provide an innovative approach, known as targeted alpha therapy.
"Targeted alpha therapy shows great potential in the fight against many types of cancer. In this innovative domain, we see AREVA Med as a key player in the development of new treatments to combat the disease."
Patrick Bourdet, President and CEO of AREVA Med
Targeted Alpha Therapy
AREVA Med's Innovative Approach in the Fight Against Cancer
Targeted alpha therapy (TAT) works by combining the targeting capabilities of cancer cell-specific biological carriers (e.g., antibodies) with the short-range destroying capabilities of the radioactive isotope 212Pb. This approach targets and destroys cancer cells while limiting the impact on nearby healthy cells.
What is Lead-212?
Lead-212 (212Pb), a rare radioactive isotope that is part of the thorium-232 decay chain, is currently at the heart of promising research projects in nuclear medicine to develop new treatments against cancer. This innovative approach is known as targeted alpha therapy (TAT). AREVA Med has developed new processes to extract and purify 212Pb from a vast supply of thorium resulting from AREVA's mining activities in the 1950s-1970s. The short half-life of 212Pb makes it ideally suited for patient administration.
Thorium-232 Decay Chain
AREVA Med Creates New Research Opportunities for Targeted Alpha Therapy (TAT)
A high potential for TAT was established long ago, but scarcity of isotopes was an obstacle to progress.
Early preclinical studies and clinical trials from the 1980s with targeted alpha therapy showed potential for treating different types of cancer that do not respond to other conventional methods despite the significant efforts made by the global scientific and medical communities.
Though the effectiveness of 212Pb had been demonstrated, the development of TAT treatments using this isotope encountered setbacks early on due to its scarcity and the technical difficulties of producing high-purity 212Pb.
Technical and scientific breakthroughs make high-purity 212Pb more widely available to explore further TAT potential.
AREVA Med's research and development work has made it possible to produce high-purity 212Pb to develop new cancer treatments and increase production capacity. The AREVA Med team, in collaboration with leading scientists, chemists, and radiochemists, have developed innovative methods for radiolabeling a monoclonal antibody with a radioactive isotope. As a result, targeted alpha therapy using 212Pb has recently come back to the forefront of medical research.
AREVA Med's 212Pb Production Facilities: Scaling up Production in France and in the U.S.
Laboratoire Maurice Tubiana (LMT)
Laboratoire Maurice Tubiana (LMT)
AREVA Med has built a unique facility to produce high-purity 212Pb needed for clinical development. This facility is located in Bessines-sur-Gartempe in the Limousin region of France. In 2013, this one-of-a-kind facility, named after world-renowned oncologist Professor Maurice Tubiana*, became fully operational and began producing 212Pb generators.
The LMT has two main objectives:
- Increase the production capacity of high purity 212Pb following cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practices)
- Supply 212Pb for development of new cancer treatments
* Maurice Tubiana: March 25, 1920 - September 24, 2013
Domestic Distribution and Purification Unit (DDPU)
Photo Credit: Jim Herndon, On Location Portraiture
Following the completion of the LMT in France in 2013, this new facility, located in Plano, Texas, was inaugurated in April 2016. The DDPU will increase AREVA Med's 212Pb production capacity. With production facilities operational in both the U.S. and France, AREVA Med is now positioned to serve the needs of the medical community even better, both domestically and abroad. At the same time, the DDPU supports the development of AREVA Med's pipeline focused on innovative, targeted, and powerful 212Pb treatments to fight cancer.
Developing Plans For New Lead-212 Production
Conceptual rendering of the Caen Facility
New Production Facility in Caen (France): In 2014, the city of Caen, in the Normandy region of France, was selected as the location for AREVA Med's future 212Pb production facility. This facility will supplement the production capacity of the Laboratoire Maurice Tubiana in France and the DDPU in the U.S. to serve future commercial medical needs. Construction of this facility will be confirmed following important scientific programs underway.