By Grace Ostuni
A researcher presented findings on the use of radioactivity in the pharmaceutical industry on Sept. 6 in Cosmos and Damian Hall.
Chad Elmore, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, stated that radioactivity is important because of how it can be metabolized in the body when someone is exposed to it.
“With radioactivity, you get a quantitative dose … to know exactly what it is and how much of it is present. Chemists try to shift the metabolism [of radioactive material] to less toxic forms,” said Elmore.
Elmore currently works for AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company based in Sweden, where he studies early chemical development.
Elmore mentioned that AstraZeneca is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, with over 10,000 staff members and three major research locations.
AstraZeneca is currently working on expanding drug modalities to access next-generation therapeutics, according to Elmore.
The two main radioactive substances Elmore said he works with are tritium, a variation of hydrogen, and C-14, a variation of carbon.
Elmore explained that tritium is used for autoradiography and measuring the amount of a biotherapeutic in the body. He added that tritium has many advantages such as having a long half-life and being inexpensive; however, the substance is difficult to manipulate.
Elmore said that C-14 is used for protein binding, metabolism studies and reactive metabolite screening. He mentioned that the substance can also be used to carbon date biological samples such as plants.
According to the researcher, chemists like to use C-14 radioactive substance because it is metabolically stable and has a long half-life and ease of detection. Elmore listed C-14’s disadvantages as its price and low specific activity.
Funded by the European Union, Elmer said his team has worked on a variety of projects such as the development of a PET ligand for the CCR2 receptor.