The IRON Labex «Innovative Radiopharmaceuticals in Oncology and Neurology» is one of the laureates from call for Laboratories of Excellence projects « Investments for the future » opened by the french government. IRON is a national french network spread over 8 cities: Angers, Caen, Nantes, Orléans, Rennes, Strasbourg, Toulouse and Tours. It federates more than 160 researchers working in 12 research teams, rated A + / A by AERES, and involved in a large multidisciplinary scientific community: chemistry, radiochemistry, radiopharmacy, formulation, biology, nuclear medicine, medical physics, social and human sciences.
The scientific objective of the IRON Labex is to develop innovative radiopharmaceuticals and transfer them to the clinic for molecular imaging diagnosis (PET: Positron Emission Tomography) in neurology and oncology and targeted radionuclide therapy of cancer. These radiopharmaceuticals will participate in the development of personalized medicine, to guide patients to appropriate targeted therapies or treat tumor disease refractory to conventional treatment.
To achieve this objective, the IRON Labex is based on:
- an ambitious cooperative translational research program in nuclear medicine structured in 3 work packages: 1- Functional imaging of neurological diseases, 2- Functional and phenotype imaging in neurology and oncology, 3- Nano-medicine and radionuclide therapy,
- research teams with complementary areas of expertise from innovative radionuclide production to clinical research,
- a network of cyclotrons producing fluor-18 (Caen, Tours, Toulouse), but also innovative radionuclides for diagnostic applications (cuivre-64, scandium-44/44m, gallium-68, zirconium-89) and therapy (cuivre-67, scandium-47, astate-211) (cyclotron Arronax in Nantes, cyclotron Cyrcé in Strasbourg).
IRON Labex also proposes a coordinated educational and training program using its technological platforms, with, at short-term, practical on-site in-service training, at mid-term, a full training program dedicated to cyclotron-produced radiopharmaceuticals upgraded, and at long-term, an international level through the Erasmus Mundus program.
IRON Labex plans a promising economic development around innovative radiopharmaceuticals with the help of the Atlanpole Biotherapies biocluster under Isotop4Life brand. IRON will be the centre of a “Nuclear for health” innovation pole of international dimension.
Based on a partnership between Nantes University, GIP Arronax, Ecole des Mines de Nantes, CNRS, Inserm, Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Rennes, Angers University, Orléans University, and François Rabelais de Tours University, IRON Labex is funded for 8 years (2012-2020) up to 4.5 M€.