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Smart Imaging Probes, Emerging Imaging

Radiobiological assessment and novel radiochemistry for treating and imaging cancer using thallium-201

Project ID: 2023_024

1st Supervisor: Dr Samantha Terry, King’s College London
2nd Supervisor: Dr Nick Long, Imperial College London
Clinical Supervisor: Dr Lefteris Livieratos, King’s College London


Aim of the PhD Project:

  • Cancer recurrence is often related to the inability to treat small metastases as well as resistance to current available therapies.
  • To help overcome this, we will create new targeted molecular radionuclide therapy and imaging in cancer using SPECT imaging and Auger electron-emitting radionuclide thallium-201.


Lay Summary

Short-range radiation could treat currently untouched small tumours throughout the body with minimal side effects. We showed that thallium-201 is an incredibly potent radioactive element that kills cells only when located inside them. We also created a straightforward approach to specifically attack prostate cancer cells by altering and attaching thallium-201 to PSMA via binding agent pypa, thereby creating [201Tl]Tl-pypa-PSMA. Here, we will determine the ability of [201Tl]Tl-pypa-PSMA to kill prostate tumours in mice, and create other prostate cancer-targeting drugs in which thallium-201 is bound through other binding agents to determine which agent holds on to the most thallium-201 the longest.

Students with a background in (radio)chemistry with a wish to go from chemistry to evaluation in animal models of cancer of new radioactive therapies would be ideal for this project.


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