Peter Kletting’s model can be used to irradiate the tumour cells of leukaemia patients more accurately, reduce potential side effects and increase the chances of therapeutic success. The scientist from the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the University Hospital of Ulm has been awarded the Society for Nuclear Medicine Covidien Award that comes with a purse of 7,500 euros.
Petter Kletting, aged 31, has further developed a method that enables the destruction of tumour cells in the bone marrow of leukaemia patients (acute myeloid leukaemia). Kletting, who holds a Master of Medical Engineering degree, developed a computer model to adapt a specific nuclear medical therapy more specifically to the requirements of individual patients.
In the fight against leukaemia, nuclear medicine uses radioactively labelled antibodies that - once injected into the blood stream - migrate to the bone marrow where their radiation destroys the tumour cells. However, on their way to the bone marrow, the antibodies also accumulate in other blood- and antigen-rich organs such as the liver. In order to prevent such radiation damage, the patients are first injected with unlabelled antibodies. When the patient receives the radioactive antibodies, these accumulate in far higher quantities in the bone marrow and are able to attack the tumour cells more effectively.
"The time between the injection of unlabelled and radioactively labelled antibodies and the quantity of antibodies used depends, amongst other things, how strongly the antibodies are bound by the antigens. Therefore, this is one of the values taken into account by the model," said Kletting.
“The blood circulation in the bone marrow plays another role, which differs from individual to individual and also depends on the progression of a disease. The model enables us to find the optimal dose for each individual patient.”Peter Kletting did his studies at the University of Ulm and the University of Bradford (England). He has been involved in a DFG-funded radiotherapy project at the University Hospital in Ulm, where he works with a team of medical physicists, nuclear physicians and internists. The German Society of Nuclear Medicine awards the Covidien Nuclear Medicine Prize predominantly to young researchers for outstanding scientific achievements.
Kletting's findings were published in the 'Journal of Nuclear Medicine' (doi:10.2967/jnumed.108054189).