Safely Delivering α-Generator Radionuclides

Safely Delivering α-Generator Radionuclides

Author: Melania Tesio

α-Generator radionuclides are isotopes which undergo a radioactive decay, thus generating α particles and radioactive daughter products. Since α particles are highly cytotoxic, these isotopes have important applications for cancer treatment. However, a safe and efficient use of α-generator radionuclides necessitates a system able to deliver them to the target organ. Moreover, daughter products should be specifically retained in the pathological tissues.

To meet these requirements, Mark McLaughlin, University of Missouri, USA, and colleagues developed nanoparticles consisting of three concentric layers (pictured) The first one is an inner core containing the α-generator radionuclide 225Ac encapsulated into {La0.5Gd0.5}PO4 nanoparticles. This layer is enclosed by a GdPO4 shell which increases daughter products’ retention within the target tissues. Additionally, a gold shell guarantees the particles’ functionalization.

When injected into mice, the multi-shell nanoparticles delivered 225Ac and its daughter products to the target organ, with only minimal damage to non target tissues.


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