Radiotracers are chemical compounds that are used to diagnose or deliver therapy to specific organs and tissues. The radiotracer consists of a linking molecule, a binding molecule and a radioactive compound. Radiotracer is injected into the body and it binds to specific target cells in the body. The linking molecule binds the radioactive compound to the binding molecule, which then binds to specific cells in body.
The radiotracer decays by emitting ionizing radiation that damages nuclear DNA, thereby stopping division of cells (cancer as well as normal cells). Radiotracers are not something new. In fact, they have been around for 100 years !!
Conventional Radiation therapy techniques use X-rays (‘photons’) to treat cancer by focussing X-rays on cancer regions. Proton therapy is a technique to treat cancer by the use of ‘protons’. The usage of protons to treat cancer may be advantages in various ways.
Radiation therapy for cancer treatment causes unnecessary exposure to healthy cells also, posing health risks on the patient. We can use Proton therapy for the following reasons.
We may want to expose children and pregnant women to lower amount of radiation.
Theranostics is a field of medicine that refers to a combination of diagnostic imaging and therapy to treat various types of cancers. Theranostics = Therapy + Diagnostics. Patients are imaged and depending on the tumour size and spread, are identified for therapy. The therapy is given by localized radiation delivered only to the diseased region, reducing the impact on surrounding healthy cells.
Principle of Theranostics
How does it work?
Radioactive compound is attached to a linking molecule that is bound to the binding molecule, which attaches to the cancer cell.