Advanced Accelerator Applications: Innovating Against Cancer
Cancer is very complex. It is not just one disease. There are hundreds of different types of cancer, each one with unique characteristics. To make things more complicated, each person’s disease acts differently.
One of the most challenging things about treating cancer is that it is not predictable and can change. One therapy may work for a period of time, then stop working. Tumors can also spread to different parts of the body, making the disease more difficult to treat.
While cancer treatments in many forms have existed for years, new approaches to treating cancer are critical to improve quality of life and survival. There are no easy cures and many therapies have side effects that can cause other health problems.
The good news is that science has brought us greater understanding of how different types of cancers develop and change over time. We also have much more information about the different ways that cancer evades treatment or adapts to its environment. This helps us to think about new ways to target it.
At Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA), we are developing precision approaches to fighting cancer, with the goal of transforming the lives of our patients.
AAA is an innovative medicines company that is committed to the research and development of targeted drugs which include radioactive components, called radioligands. Radioligand therapy involves a targeting agent that is attracted to a specific marker on a cancer cell and carries with it a radioactive piece that is released into the cancer cell and then damages the cancer cell. The concept combines aspects of two very well-known approaches: radiation and targeted therapy.
This type of medical specialty is called nuclear medicine, and has a long history going back to the early 1900s. Many people have not heard of nuclear medicine. For many years it was used primarily for diagnostic imaging and was not discussed as a medical innovation. There were very few effective therapies approved, and they were not used very broadly. Part of the reason for this is the complex manufacturing and delivery process for these types of medicines.
It is only recently, through the efforts of industry leaders like AAA, that there are approved therapies being made widely available to patients, as well as new ones in development. AAA has a pipeline of investigational drugs being studied in different types of cancer.
It takes very special know-how to develop, manufacture and deliver these types of drugs in ready-to-use form. The active ingredient is the radioactive component, also called a radionuclide or radioisotope, which is attached to the targeting agent. These radionuclides only have activity for a short period of time – often hours or days, which means that radioligand therapies are produced on-demand for individual patients. It also means that shipping, handling and administering these medicines requires special procedures.
AAA has developed robust manufacturing capabilities and a global supply chain to address these challenges and make the reliable delivery of radioligand treatments a reality.
We are committed to the development of innovative radioligand therapies and making them available to people with many different types of cancer all over the world.