AGORA

Access to targeted therapies and μPET-μMRI, GMP radiopharmacy and small animal imaging facility

Medical services

The Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging at (CHUV) and the Translational Laboratory of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences at the Cancer Research Centre AGORA compose the Lausanne Swiss translational platform. CHUV is a world leading university hospital (employs more than 11'600 people of 106 different nationalities, has treated more than 51'200 patients in 2019, and is among the top 5 Swiss hospitals and the top 10 in the world, Newsweek magazine's 2019 ranking). Collaborating also with the Faculty of Biology and Medicine, University of Lausanne, CHUV plays a leading role on a European scale in the fields of medical care, medical research and education. It is equipped with leading edge equipment (including quantitative SPECT/CT and last generation Si PET scanners), is ISO9001:2015 certified and is accredited as PET Centre of Excellence through EARL, and comprises a GMP accredited radiopharmacy facility. The department leads or participates in several clinical trials. AGORA is the flagship of the Swiss Cancer Centre Léman, an alliance of leading institutions (CHUV, University Hospital Geneva, Lausanne and Geneva Universities, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), and their partners (the ISREC Foundation and the Ludwig Cancer Research).

The laboratory of Radiopharmaceutical Sciences designs and performs synthesis, preclinical characterisation of targeted probes for in vivo imaging and theranostic applications in the wider context of immuno-oncology. It identifies novel targets for selective imaging, and makes subsequent tracer development and optimisation. It performs preclinical advances on theranostic concepts such as Chemokine receptor-targeted agents, within the framework of immunotherapies and combination therapies. The overarching goal of these efforts is the development of imaging tools for improved patient selection in the context of immune therapies in different cancer entities. The laboratory can support the development of new radiotracers from the bench to preclinical study and its translation into relevant clinical applications. It is fully equipped to allow the production of innovative molecules and their evaluation in in vitro and in vivo models. The μPET/SPECT/CT platform which is necessary to establish proof of concept for clinically promising radiotracers is part of the IVIF (In Vivo Imaging Facility) which hosts several preclinical imaging modalities such as MRI, CT, optical imaging and dual photon microscopy in addition to a μPET/SPECT/CT and a μPET/CT scanner. Translation into clinical application is ensured by the radiopharmacy facility accredited for GMP production and the clinical trials can be organised and conducted at the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. All the infrastructures are located on the same site.

Experiments available

Support for targeting agent and chelator development
Support for radiolabelling strategy and instrumentation for quality controls
Depending on the modality (diagnostic vs therapeutic), the biological target, the targeting agent and the application (preclinical experiments vs clinical application), different labelling strategy might be proposed resulting in different formulation of the radiotracer (molar activity, pH, composition of the buffer and volume). Radiolabelling can be conducted in the GMP radiopharmacy or at the research lab.
Support for radiolabelling strategy and instrumentation for quality controls
Depending on the modality (diagnostic vs therapeutic), the biological target, the targeting agent and the application (preclinical experiments vs clinical application), different labelling strategy might be proposed resulting in different formulation of the radiotracer (molar activity, pH, composition of the buffer and volume). Radiolabelling can be conducted in the GMP radiopharmacy or at the research lab.
Preclinical studies
The laboratory is equipped to perform a vast range of chemical and biological characterization for the radiolabeled compound as well as for its cold moiety.
Chemical and radiochemical characterisation
Chemical characterization of the cold compound before and after conjugation by HPLC, mass Spectrometry and flow cytometry is feasible at the facility. After radiolabelling, the radiochemical purity of the radiotracer can also be done by radio-HPLC or radio-iTLC at the facility.
In vitro characterisation

The facility is able to provide a full range of characterization with radioactive compounds in relevant cellular models. To be noted that the AGORA facility is not equipped to perform autoradiography.

  • Internalisation and intracellular/subcellular distribution studies
  • Dissociation studies
  • Blocking studies
  • Efficacy/functional assays
  • Cell proliferation assay
  • Metabolite analysis
  • Radiopharmaceutical stability during storage
  • Serum stability
  • Non-radioactive supporting experiments

Access to common cell and molecular biology techniques is also possible in cold laboratories.

In vivo characterisation
The facility is equipped and accredited to host and conduct animal experiments involving radioactive compounds with mouse models of predominantly oncological diseases.
  • In vivo stability studies
  • Metabolite analysis
  • Tracer biodistribution studies
  • microPET/SPECT imaging
  • Efficacy assay
  • Radiotoxicity and dosimetry study
Guidance to write regulatory documents to apply for clinical studies

PRISMAP biomedical facilities that offer this service can guide and help the applicant to gather, write and submit the different documents needed for a first in human clinical trial.

For an in depth review, please refer to the following publications:

Radiopharmaceutical GMP manufacturing and related documentation
The facility is qualified to produce radiopharmaceuticals for clinical trial use.
Support to conduct clinical trial, general organisation and contact to authority
The facilities can guide and help the applicant to organise a clinical trial that could be hosted at the biomedical facility.