Episode 1, Radiomolecular theranostics: a tutorial introduction

The definition of theranostics comes from the combination of two words: therapy and diagnostics. Essentially, it is the ability to acquire a diagnosis and administer a therapy in the same basic package or compound.

It really is true precision medicine because the treatment can be tailored directly to the target in the patient. In the case of radiomolecular precision oncology, the theranostic compound is a radiolabeled ligand and the target is cancer.


The theranostic radiomolecular field is making a rapid progression in addressing a largely unmet demand in finding a cure for (very difficult to treat) cancers. Currently, the market is expected to grow in a double digit compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the coming years. The prospects of reaching blockbuster status in the near future has increased the interest in theranostic development among major pharmaceutical companies.


Why is radiomolecular theranostics so effective? Because the radiomolecular ligands are designed to target specific receptors and locate where there is over-expression: cancer. Due to (the killing distance of) their radionuclide payload, these radiomolecular ligands kill a greater variety of cancer cells on their way through the tumour tissue, inciting the immune system to get involved in the treatment response as well. There is relatively little collateral damage to the non-target healthy tissues due to low receptor expression, limited killing distance, and rapid clearance from the body.


The clinical and scientific characteristics of radiomolecular theranostics are many and complex. This approach is not the silver bullet for cancer treatment, but may considerably improve the progression free survival of otherwise very difficult to treat cancer patients. The various pros and cons of radiomolecular theranostics will be discussed in the following blog episodes written by invited guest bloggers.



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