New advances in cancer detection


A new technique for diagnosing cancers will be developed thanks to UCLouvain. An exclusive partnership agreement has just been concluded with an American pharmaceutical company for this purpose.

Previous research from UCLouvain, in partnership with Duke University (North Carolina), revealed that different types of cancer in humans consume lactic acid (lactate) for fuel. A radioactive tracer was also developed to image the metabolism of this lactate in oxygenated tumours and in their microenvironments.

Unlike the tracers most commonly used in the medical field, the one designed by the Louvain researchers can detect certain cancerous lesions that usually go undiagnosed.

An agreement has just been signed with Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited to bring this discovery to an operational level. In addition, the American company will test the possibility of extending this technique to identify the most aggressive cancers and those less sensitive to current treatments.

Professor Pierre Sonveaux is delighted by this partnership, ‘We are convinced that this diagnostic molecule can improve the treatment of cancer patients. The icing on the cake is that the patent owner has decided to donate its royalties to non-profit organisations.’

A scientific discovery by Belgian researchers will therefore become a real advance in the fight against cancer.