Theragnostics or Theranostics, is a cancer treatment strategy in which Cancer is visualised by Positron Emission Tomography (PET) or Computed Tomography (CT) imaging to locate the tumors (Diagnose) and to kill the tumors (Treatment) using cancer specific molecules tagged to radioactive agents.

In this method, molecules which bind to specific surface proteins on cancer cells, are linked to weak radionuclides and injected in cancer patients. These radioactively tagged molecules bind to the specific target proteins on tumors and are visualised using PET-CT scans. Following detection and location of the tumors, the same molecules are tagged with stronger radioactive agents and injected into the patients. This time when the molecules bind to the surface proteins, the heavy radioactivity kills the tumor cells.

An example of a Theranostic is Gallium Ga 69 dotatate (Diagnostic)(Netspot) and Lutetium Lu177 dotatate (Treatment)(Lutathera) for neuroendocrine tumors.

A recently approved Theranostic is Gallium-68 PSMA-11 (Ga68 PSMA 11) that detects the Prostate Surface Membrane Antigen (PSMA) on prostate cancer cells. This helps the oncologists to detect recurrent Prostate Cancer. The same peptide when linked to Lutetium 177 kills the prostate cancer cells. Lutetium 177 PSMA-617 (Adacap) is in Phase 3 clinical trials.

OncoDynamix’s novel platform technology analyses molecular data from cancer patients’ tumor samples and identifies patients who are most likely to respond to radiation therapy.

Author:Ramesh Jayaraman-Chief Scientific Officer, OncoDynamiX Lifesciences.


  • American Association of Cancer Research, Cancer Progress Report, 2021