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Imaging Agent for Prostate and Glioma Tumour Detection

  • Novel 18F-labelled imaging agent shows improved imaging potential compared to 18F-FDG in prostate and glioma tumours.
  • Tracer shows good biodistribution profile and very good stability in vivo.
  • Tracer can be used for tumour detection and monitoring therapy progress. Potential use for PET, SPECT and DNP-based imaging.
  • Clinical trials ongoing in healthy volunteers and glioma patients- results in June 2020
The Opportunity: 

We are seeking a commercial partner interested in pursuing the co-development or licensing of our imaging tracer 18F-FPIA.

The Technology: 

This novel imaging tracer 18F-FPIA showed superior imaging performance in prostate and brain tumours, compared to the gold standard 18F-FDG, and was equally good in breast cancer models. Our tracer is based on a pivalic acid structure and is designed for imaging the first steps of lipid metabolism. We have tested this tracer in the indications of breast, prostate and brain tumours, but we anticipate utility in a greater range of indications, including inflammatory disorders and brain lesions. Due to its composition, the imaging agent can be labelled to be used in PET, SPECT and DNP imaging.

Elevated fatty acid synthesis and turnover is a frequently deregulated metabolic pathway in cancer cells. The new tracer is based on a short chain carboxylate, which utilizes the early steps of fatty acid oxidation, but due to its underlying structure cannot be oxidised and metabolised and therefore, is very stable (1). Our tracer 18F-FPIA is based on a pivalic acid structure and is designed for imaging the first steps of lipid metabolism.

Several indications for the use of this imaging agent have been tested, e.g. breast, prostate and brain tumours. In comparison to the clinical standard in PET imaging, 18F-FDG, in prostate and brain tumours the new tracer showed superior imaging performance and was equally good for two breast tumour models. 18F-FDG is known to be suboptimal in prostate tumours, as the tumour tissue doesn’t take up the tracer (2) and is not supported for reimbursement. In brain tumour imaging, due to the brain’s intrinsic high glucose uptake, 18F-FDG is known to produce high background staining and is therefore suboptimal for brain imaging use (3). There is a need for new tracers to enable tumour imaging in these indications. Another potential area of application is the use of this agent in imaging of inflammation, especially in the brain, where 18F-FDG again produces high background. These situations could be present in indications like multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory diseases.

18F-FPIA is currently being explored in glioma patients. The aim of this study is to quantify the degree of early step fatty acid oxidation in gliomas as imaged by 18F-FPIA PET/MRI in 10 evaluable patients and is due to be completed in 2020. A healthy volunteer study has also been conducted and results are available under CDA.


This programme is under development at the Imperial College, London, in the Lab of Prof. Eric Aboagye.

Intellectual Property: 
PCT (composition of matter/method): PCT/GB2014/051405 (Pub no. WO 2014/181112 A1); US/EU filings: US- 1 patent granted (US 10,213,516 B2) and 1 divisional application in prosecution (US 2019/0184039); EP- 1 patent in prosecution (EP 2994169 A1)
  1. Kellof GJ et al, (2005) Clin Cancer Res. 11:2785-2808
  2. Pisaneschi F et al., (2013) Med Chem Communi. 4:1350:33
  3. Phelps ME et al., (1985) Science. 228: 799-809