For years, cancer therapy (eg chemotherapy) has been an indiscriminate warfare. With the advent of targeted therapy (eg Trastuzumab) and immunotherapy (eg immune checkpoint inhibition) came the promise of fine-tuning cancer treatment. Although both are clinically applied, there are points that merit further attention. When diagnosing cancer, one would like to know as much as possible about the tumor (eg presence of biomarker molecules and immune checkpoints) to plan the most effective treatment. This can be achieved via molecular imaging, the use of radioactive labeled indicator molecules that can be imaged by PET. Beyond detection, targeted molecules can serve as vehicles to deliver lethal radiation to malignant cells (targeted radionuclide therapy [TRNT]).
Our research focuses on the development of Nanobodies, a unique type of antibody fragments that occur in the blood of camelids, as probes for molecular imaging and TRNT. We apply for a “Platform for cell analysis after Radioactivity based Molecular Imaging and targeted Therapy of cancer (PeRMIT)” in support of collaborative research programs at the forefront of immune checkpoint imaging and therapy, and immunogenic cell death inducing TRNT in solid and hematological cancers. This platform (flow cytometer and microplate reader) will allow us to go beyond the state-ofthe-art and address questions at the cell rather than system level. In turn it will allow us to further develop these innovations and improve cancer therapy.