U.S. DOE Awards Funding to a Joint AAPS Project

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded nearly a million dollars for a joint project involving AAPS to explore the therapeutic utility of a high specific activity isotope called samarium-153 (SM-153).

A joint team of scientists from AAPS, MURR (Missouri Research Reactor), and the IsoTherapeutics Group, Inc (Texas) have received funding (~$1M USD)from the US Department of Energy under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to perform of proof-of-principle study of whether the use of high specific activity radioisotherapeutic isotope, Sm-153 is compelling in pre-clinical studies. This study will involve for the first time isotopic purification of a therapeutic component using electromagnetic mass separation.

The U.S. Congress established the SBIR program to support scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of federal funds in critical American priorities to build the economy.

This isotope, Sm-153 is currently marketed under the trade name, Quadramet, and has demonstrated good efficacy. Sm-153 is produced using neutron irradiation of enriched Sm-152, but at most only 2% of the target material is converted to the desired isotope. This dilutes the effectiveness of this therapeutic agent and limits its usefulness due to competitive pharmacological behavior of non-radioactive Sm-152 with the therapeutic congener Sm-153. Isotopes of the same element cannot be separated by chemical means; however, mass spectrometric separation can be used. A facility at TRIUMF used by AAPS will be employed.

Successful results could represent a breakthrough both for this purification approach to produce the higher purity agent and for the usefulness of this key radiotherapeutic isotope.

– by T.I. Meyer, Head of TRIUMF’s Strategic Planning and Communication Office