C2TN SCIENTIFIC ACTIVITY HAS A CROSSCUTTING STRUCTURE BASED ON:
THEMATIC STRANDS. RESEARCH GROUPS & PROJECTS
Research activity carried out at C2TN is based on research programmes with clearly defined objectives and strategies, as well as working and evaluation practices. The C2TN scientific research system integrates structures that safeguard the freedom, flexibility and quality of research, that promote the continuous improvement of the quality of its human resources and activities, including evaluation and self-evaluation procedures, and which enable, when appropriate, the creation and extinction of thematic strands, groups or projects, in conjunction with relevant bodies for evaluation and accreditation.
The six existing research groups of C2TN work together, contributing with their knowledge, experience and infrastructures for the strategic R&D program of the Unit.
This program comprises three Thematic Strands, strongly connected to the C2TN statute (see tabs below).
Each Thematic Strand has a number of specific research objectives. In 2016 each research objective is supported by an Objective Manager, in most cases a junior scientist, who oversees and promotes the joint activities and interlinks between research groups.
RADIOPHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES and HEALTH PHYSICS / DIAGNOSTIC, THERAPIES and PUBLIC HEALTH
Coordinator: António Rocha Paulo
Research Groups involved:
Radiological Protection and Safety
Researchers of this TS used their unique know-how, expertise, techniques and infrastructures on Radio-pharmaceutical Sciences, Radiation Protection and Dosimetry, Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation and Metrology to carry out cutting edge studies in all these fields:
|Validation and Functional Characterization of Disease and Radiation Biomarkers
Objective Manager: Filipa Mendes
|Novel Radioactive Tools for Molecular Imaging and Theranostic Applications
Objective Manager: João Galamba
|Dosimetry, Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation, and Metrology
Objective Manager: Ana Belchior
The scientific output of the RSHP comprised : 51 papers in international peer-reviewed journals, 2 book chapters, 6 proceedings, 10 invited lectures, 34 oral and/or poster presentations in conferences, 2 PhD, 7 MSc and 2 graduation completed theses. Their research activities have been supported by FP7 and HORIZON 2020 (7), PORTUGAL 2020 (1), FCT (3) and bilateral projects (1), as well as by research contracts (5) with National and International companies. There was also an important participation in European Union Technology Platforms and Networks, namely MELODI, EURADOS, NERIS and EURAMET, as well as COST ACTIONs.
The team participated and organized international and national conferences and workshops (2) and short training courses (2). One of these workshops was sponsored by the IAEA and addressed cross-cutting and leading edge scientific issues on nuclear molecular imaging.
The Master´s course on Radiological Protection and Safety (IST) led by researchers from the RSHP thematic strand was launched, being the first of a kind in Portugal. Other teaching activities involving the TS researchers encompassed courses and lectures at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycles at the Universidade de Lisboa (Physics and Bioengineering Departments of IST, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy), at Universidade Nova de Lisboa and at the Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa (ESTeSL). These included as well the PhD programs MedChemTrain and RABBIT.
From all the R&D performed during 2016, the following studies are highlighted:
ANTICANCER RADIATION THERAPIES: BNCT AND AUGER THERAPY
The biological effects of high-LET particles, namely Auger electrons and a particles, in tumor cells were studied with g-H2AX and micronuclei assays, using Auger-emitting 99mTc/125I compounds and boron neutron capture (BNC) reactions with boron-rich compounds. The 99mTc- and 125I-labeled molecules induced DNA damage that was dependent on the nature of the Auger emitter and proximity of the radioisotope to the DNA center. Relevant DNA damage was found for the alpha and Li ions resulting from the B(n,a) reaction with a biological response to thermal neutrons more lethal for the cells treated with boron-rich compounds when compared to untreated controls.
RADIOLABELED PEPTIDES FOR BREAST CANCER THERANOSTICS
Breast cancer (BC) is a leading cause of cancer death in women. The estrogen receptor (ER) status is a well-established biomarker for BC prognosis and treatment planning. Despite the enhancement of survival rate, more effective functional imaging/therapy tools are still needed. Small peptides with recognized ER binding affinity have been radiolabelled with different radionuclides with theranostic potential. The novel radiopeptides kept their original ER binding affinity, internalized in the nucleus of cancer cells and are taken up by ER-rich organs. Such favourable biological features suggest their usefulness for SPECT/PET imaging and peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) of breast cancer.
DOSIMETRIC ASSESSMENT IN CONE BEAM CT (CBCT) EXAMINATIONS
CBCT enables imaging of target tissues at the linear accelerator during the pre-treatment verification of patients undergoing Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT). However, CBCT may lead to high cumulative dose to tissues outside the radiation therapy exposure field. To address this issue, a CBCT system was successfully modelled using MCNPX simulations and validated in a clinical environment with the collaboration of Fundação Champalimaud. The isocenter of the system was set at Golem’s (voxel phantom) hypophysis to simulate a Head CBCT scan acquisition for brain tumor location. The isodose curves showed how the Entrance Skin Dose (ESD) is distributed along the clinically selected field of view (FOV).