The First World Congress on Ga-68 and Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRNT) was held in Bad Berka on June 23-26, 2011.  Attended by over 400 medical professional from more than 50 countries from every corner of the world.  During the two and a half day event over 80 presentations were given on the chemistry of gallium 68 (Ga68) and its production, the use  of Ga68 in imaging, and the treatment of Neuroendocrine Tumors (NETs) using Peptide Receptor RadioNuclide Thearpy (PRRNT).  The event was orginized by Prof. Dr. Richard P. Baum of Zentralklink, Bad Berka and Prof. Dr. Frank Rösch of the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University.


As one of the founders of the site I had travelled to Bad Berka to cover this symposium for our readers and took notes on each and every session to faithfully record the event for others who could not attend. In the eight weeks since the conference I have tried to write a detailed account of each session but with over 80 sessions and 40 posters it has become an overwhelming task but it is a story that needs to be told. Rather than a detailed 80 lecture review I am providing an outline of what was interesting from a patient perspective and why to me this was one of the most important conferences I have attended in years.  Dr. Baum has also kindly provided our site with his concluding slides that show highlights from the previous days events.  The 7MB download contains 135 slides that were taken from the various presentation.

The conference itself was videotaped and the presentations will be on line in the coming months, when they are available a link will be published on this site.  The abstracts have been available online since the end of the conference and can be viewed without any registration by visiting the World Journal of Nuclear Medicine.  The World Journal site contains the content of the oral presentation and all the poster abstracts as well.  As you can imagine putting on an international conference with 400+ attendees is a great amount of work, congratulations go to Dr. Baum, his staff at Bad Berka, and his wife who but in countless hours making sure all the details were taken care of.   In addition to Dr. Baum's team, Dr. Rösch's team did an excellent job with chemistry aspect of the conference and to Prof. Ajit Kumar Padhy, who put together the material for the Journal and hand caried the printed material to Germany from India. 

The oral presentations were divided into four parts, chemistry / science of Gallium generation. the use of Ga68 for imaging,  PRRNT for the treatment of NETs, and what is on the horizon for imaging and PRRNT.  The over arching theme was how to use diagnostics to influence and improve therapy - Theronositcs.

So what did I learn?

First and foremost that there are dedicate doctors, researchers, radiologist and companies working to make GA68 imaging and PRRNT available to all who need it worldwide.  That the community is working on sharing best practices and best treatment protocols for those who have NETs as well as any other application for the technology.

Second these tools are available and are being used worldwide with centers in nearly every part of the world doing imaging and treatment using GA68 and PRRNT.  From Europe where far more centers are using it than those in North America know about to Austrilla where an LU -177 treatment can be done as an out patient.  There are center in Asia and in Latin America as well.  Poland currently has 9 centers that treat patients with PRRT.

Third - the idea Theranostics - using the same tools to diagnose as you do treatment is very powerful concept.  Using a peptide which can be bound with an imaging agent or treatment agent means that what you can see you can treat and you can measure the treatment response.  This is different than diagnosing with one test and treating with another method that may not be able to reach the target.  How important ? In several studies the availability of GA68 imaging changed the course of treatment for NETs patients by 40%.  This included patients who were not surgical candidates as they had unknown primaries to being surgical candidates as the primary could now be imaged.

Fourth - North America - while still behind in availability of GA68 for imaging and PRRNT of treatment is starting to wake up.  There were over 35 participants from the US including a team from Iowa City as well as doctors and radiologist from Vanderbilt University, Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, Excel Diagnostics in Houston, Missouri University and UCSF.

Fifth - The science continue to evolve - Testing new combinations of isotopes in series or at the same time with or without other treatment modalities.  New alpha particles for treatment with smaller tumor receptor.  Surgical probes that can work in conjunction with GA68 or LU177

So take your time - 135 pages summary document and all the abstracts are a lot to digest.   We will keep on reporting on any updates we see.