Expanding Bone Cancer Therapy Radium-223 for Other Cancers

Radium-223 is highly effective for treating bone metastases in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancers. These are prostate cancers that do not respond to hormonal therapies to reduce a patient’s testosterone levels. Because the unchelated radium(II) ion resembles calcium, it is readily taken up by rapidly dividing bone metastases, where it delivers short-range alpha radiation. Despite the therapeutic potential of radium-223, its current formulation approved by the Food and Drug Administration is effective only for patients with bone metastases.

Justin J. Wilson, Chemistry and Chemical Biology, is developing bifunctional chelating agents that can be used to deliver radium-223 to soft-tissue cancers in vivo. Wilson wants to broaden radium-223’s therapeutic utility for a wide range of cancers.

An ideal chelating agent is required to keep radium-223 stably bound during the time that it is circulating in patients. In collaboration with John Babich, Radiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, Wilson is evaluating the efficacy of new chelating agents developed in his lab for stably binding and retaining radium-223 in vivo. Wilson will conjugate the most promising candidates to soft-tissue tumor-targeting antibodies. The conjugate will be radiolabeled with radium-223, and its in vivo biodistribution evaluated in mouse models to test the long-term stability of the resulting compound.

Technology developed through this research has the potential to significantly prolong and improve the lives of cancer patients by rendering the highly promising radium-223 effective for treatment of soft-tissue metastases.

NIH Award Number: 1R21EB027282-01A1

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$619 Thousand spanning 3 years