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The Quarterly Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2021 December;65(4):299-305

DOI: 10.23736/S1824-4785.21.03410-5


language: English

Theragnostics before we found its name

Sergio MODONI 1 , Savvas FRANGOS 2, Ioannis IAKOVOU 3, Michele BOERO 4, Luigi MANSI 5

1 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Foggia University Hospital, Foggia, Italy; 2 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Clinic of Thyroid Cancer, Bank of Cyprus Oncology Center, Nicosia, Cyprus; 3 Medical School, Department of Academic Nuclear Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece; 4 Department of Nuclear Medicine, ARNAS G. Brotzu, Cagliari, Italy; 5 Interuniversity Research Center for Sustainability (CIRPS), Rome, Italy

Theragnostics embraces “gnosis” and “prognosis” and concerns a treatment strategy which combines diagnostics with therapeutics. The birth of what we call today theragnostics can be traced in 1936, with the proposal of radioiodine, the first radiopharmaceutical approved in 1951 by FDA, in USA, as 131I sodium iodide. In 1957, 89Sr was also approved as first therapeutic radiotracer for skeletal metastases, followed in the subsequent years by 186Rh, 153Sm and, more recently, 223Ra, the first alpha emitter clinically utilized, allowing curative results and not only a palliative effect. Proposed in first eighties as [131I] Metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG), the theragnostic couple 123I/131I MIBG is still used in neural crest tumors, while, starting from partially unsatisfactory results in 70’s, models based on antibodies for radioimmunoscintigraphy/radioimmunotherapy have been subsequently upgraded thanks to the introduction of monoclonal antibodies and other significant biological and technical improvements. The “Theragnostics called with this name” can be dated to early 90’s with the first proposal of the somatostatin model, actually widely operating in neuroendocrine tumors with radio-chelates usable for diagnosis and therapy. Since then, many investigators are working on new theragnostics agents, also outside of the nuclear medicine, based on peptides, antibodies and other tools to find new models applicable in the clinical practice. The fast growth is stimulated by the interest of big pharma. Theragnostic concepts are the roots of nuclear medicine and new great goals are soon to be achieved in the direction of an increasing precision and tailored medicine.

KEY WORDS: Nuclear medicine; Precision medicine; Review

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