Researchers have long used non-proprietary imaging agents such as 18F-Fluoroumisonidazole (FMISO), 18F-Sodium Fluoride and Fluorothymidine (FLT-PET) to evaluate cancerous tumors. Now, with manufacturing and distribution support from Cardinal Health, the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) is conducting nationwide clinical trials with positron emission tomography (PET) to determine if these agents can be used in new ways to assess the efficacy of cancer treatments.
The ACRIN trials, funded by the National Cancer Institute, aim to better characterize cancerous tumors and to help oncologists select the most appropriate treatment for patients with cancer. The research also aims to help develop strategies to more quickly evaluate new cancer treatments and speed the delivery of effective drugs into clinical use.
The four ACRIN clinical trials that Cardinal Health is supporting include:
A clinical trial to determine whether FMISO can be used as a biotracer to measure the oxygen level (or hypoxia) of a specific type of brain tumor called glioblastoma. Knowing how hypoxic a tumor is may help treating physicians determine the best course of therapy for their patients. Cardinal Health is the only entity to have a drug master file with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to produce this imaging agent.
A clinical trial to determine whether 18F-Sodium Fluoride, a bone imaging agent, can be used to gain information about how the drug dasatinib may work in treating castration-resistant prostate cancer that has spread to the bone.
Two clinical trials assessing FLT-PET. One will evaluate its ability to assess whether chemotherapy treatments have been successful in reducing tumors prior to surgery in patients with locally advanced breast cancer. The other will use FLT-PET and advanced MRI sequences to assess whether imaging biotracers can be useful in predicting the likelihood of survival among patients with glioblastoma tumors.
Cardinal Health's Nuclear Pharmacy Services business operates cyclotrons throughout the United States. These machines manufacture the high-energy PET imaging agents that allow internal images to be taken of the body. Cardinal Health cyclotrons allows almost 100 of the company's 160 radiopharmacies to compound and dispense high-energy, PET imaging agents in unit-dose form. Cardinal Health's network of "PET-enabled" pharmacies, combined with its fleet and logistics capabilities, help to enable patients, hospitals, clinics and research facilities to participate inclinical trials of both proprietary and non-proprietary imaging agents.
"Cardinal Health's nuclear pharmacy experience and its network of PET manufacturing and distribution sites make it an important partner in enabling ACRIN to conduct clinical trials using PET imaging probes," said David Mankoff, MD, PhD, chair of ACRIN's Experimental Imaging Sciences Committee and professor of radiology in the nuclear medicine department at the University of Washington.