Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer among North American men. For patients non-responsive to available treatments, cancer will inevitably spread, typically leading to bone metastases. Accordingly, in order to offer these patients more effective and personalized treatments, it is necessary to detect these metastases and to understand the type of cells they comprise, as many different types exist across patients. Currently, patient follow-ups imply imaging exams (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT)) and blood tests to detect the rise of prostate specific antigen (PSA), indicative of reoccurrence. However, these methods are not sensitive enough to characterize cell type. Prof. Guérin’s 3-year project aims to develop new tools to better image and characterize the different cancer cell types and accordingly, improve treatment offered to patients. In the field of medical imaging, the tools to image the cells are called tracers, while the tools used to treat cancer are called radioligands. Her innovative study proposes that enrolled patients will be imaged using two or three imaging exams (positron emission tomography (TEP)), each using a different tracer (PSMA/FDG/OCTREOTATE), in order to identify the different cell types.
Dr. Guérin’s team also aims to develop novel radioligands that will be best suited for treatment. Moreover, their capacities in producing and distributing tracers will benefit patients from Sherbrooke (CIUSSSE-CHUS), Quebec (CHUQc-UL) and Montreal (CHUM, MUHC et CIUSSS-COMTL). This project will involve 100 patients to volunteer from across the province. This study is possible through the implication of more than 36 researchers and physicians leaders in the fields of radiochemistry, radiotherapy, preclinical and medical imaging, uro-oncology, radiology and pathology. This dynamic team, called TEMPO (ThEranostics against Metastatic PrOstate cancer), will work on the development and implementation of radioligands to accelerate research in uro-oncology. The team is also keen to benefit from the support of our partners in the field of imaging tool development (CIMS), clinical research (URCE) and our specialized attending clinics. The results from this study will directly benefit the patients and will allow the identification of patients who will be eligible to more personalized and adapted treatment to improve their prognosis and quality of life.