RetroSPECT: Gallium-67 as a Long-Lived Imaging Agent for Theranostics

Document Type : Special Contribution


1 Department of Nuclear Medicine, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia

2 Sydney Vital Translational Cancer Research Centre, Sydney, Australia

3 Faculty of Medicine & Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

4 GlyTherix Ltd, Sydney, Australia

5 Biosciences, Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Sydney, Australia


A limitation to the wider introduction of personalised dosimetry in theranostics is the relative paucity of imaging radionuclides with suitable physical and chemical properties to be paired with a long-lived therapeutic partner. As most of the beta-emitting therapeutic radionuclides emit gamma radiation as well they could potentially be used as the imaging radionuclide as well as the therapeutic radionuclide. However, the downsides are that the beta radiation will deliver a significant radiation dose as part of the treatment planning procedure, and the gamma radiation branching ratio is often quite low. Gallium-67 has been in use in nuclear medicine for over 50 years. However, the tremendous interest in gallium imaging in theranostics in recent times has focused on the PET radionuclide gallium-68. In this article it is suggested that the longer-lived gallium-67, which has desirable characteristics for imaging with the gamma camera and a suitably long half-life to match biological timescales for drug uptake and turnover, has been overlooked, in particular, for treatment planning with radionuclide therapy. Gallium-67 could also allow non-PET facilities to participate in theranostic imaging prior to treatment or for monitoring response after therapy. Gallium-67 could play a niche role in the future development of personalised medicine with theranostics.


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