Telix Pharmaceuticals is developing a pipeline of theranostic (Therapeutic and Diagnostic) products that selectively deliver “molecularly targeted” radiation to image and treat cancer.

What are theranostics?

Theranostic products are a new generation of targeted radiopharmaceutical therapies. They are designed to couple imaging and therapy; integrating the inseparable diagnosis and therapeutic elements of cancer treatment. Theranostic products can be used to target very small tumours that may not be detectable with standard imaging (CT, MRI, ultrasound) and therapy systems, and cause much less damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
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How do theranostics work?

In theranostic radiopharmaceutical therapies, radioactivity is attached to a “targeting agent” such as a small molecule or antibody. This targeting agent specifically binds to tumours and delivers a radioactive payload in a highly selective way; killing cancer cells, shrinking tumours and halting their growth.
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Theranostic radiopharmaceutical therapies can be used to selectively identify and kill cancer cells and, as such, are usually well tolerated by patients.
This is in contrast to traditional “external beam” radiation, where a linear accelerator externally targets and delivers beams of ionising radiation indiscriminately to tissues in a particular part of the body; often with significant collateral damage.
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Theranostics Advantages

Most tumour-directed therapies only kill targeted cells, which can render some therapies inefficacious if a tumour lacks an appropriate target. Theranostic products are designed to destroy the tumour target plus adjacent tumour cells, regardless of their receptor or antigen profile.

The illustration below shows how theranostic products kill cancer cells. Traditional therapies target certain types of cancer cells but leave the rest behind to continue to grow. These cancer cells left behind often proliferate more aggressively than the original tumour.

Theranostic therapies, such as Telix’s therapies, have a killing distance that destroys a greater variety of cancer cells. They work by destroying the tumour’s “structural” cells and further inciting the immune system, such as attracting T cells, to become involved in the treatment response.

The difference in mechanisms between traditional and theranostic cancer therapies suggest that theranostic products could have synergistic effects with other therapies, such as anti-androgens (prostate cancer) or checkpoint inhibitors (renal/brain cancer) without an overlapping toxicity profile. This is an important part of Telix’s strategy – integrating with Standard Care.

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In Summary
Theranostic products such as those offered by Telix Pharmaceuticals offer significant benefits :

  • Effective and well-tolerated targeted radiopharmaceutical therapies
  • Designed to couple both imaging and therapy
  • Offer precise, modern imaging to map a patient’s cancer with a high degree of accuracy to inform treatment decisions
  • Can be used in combination with traditional cancer therapies
  • Can be integrated with standard care

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General Resources