Dr Nigel Lengkeek has received the Shimadzu Award for Radiopharmaceutical Scientist Member of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nuclear Medicine (ANZSNM) at the Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in Melbourne for his work on the development and delivery of the innovative cancer diagnostic agent, 67Ga MILGa.
The radiopharmaceutical is currently being assessed as part of a phase 1 clinical trial using SPECT/CT imaging at Macquarie University Hospital for the detection and diagnosis of metastatic prostate, bladder and pancreatic cancers.
“We are very proud that Nigel has been recognised with this award for his contribution to the industry-led development of this promising radiopharmaceutical,” said Dr John Bennett, Leader, Radioisotopes & Radiotracers and Radiobiology & Bioimaging.
“It is indicative of the high level of talent in our group that continues to produce novel radiotracers and radiopharmaceuticals with the potential for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Several members of our pre-clinical imaging team were also finalists for the Best Poster Award in Neuroscience at the Congress.“
Lengkeek, who is a Radiometals Specialist in the Radiotracers & Radioisotopes group, was the principal scientist in a large team at ANSTO, who developed the radiochemistry and routine production procedures for the radiopharmaceutical.
The development was undertaken in partnership with Sydney-based immuno-oncology company Minomic International, the developer of the parent antibody, MIL-38, and Auspep, an Australian pharmaceutical manufacturer.
The Shimadzu Award recognises and encourages innovative and progressive work in the field of Radiopharmaceutical Science (RPS). It consists of a $2,000 prize to be used towards expenses to attend an international nuclear medicine meeting.
Lengkeek, who joined ANSTO in 2010, plans to use the award to attend the ‘Metals in Medicine’ Gordon Research Conference in the US in June this year. He hopes to develop opportunities with leading inorganic and bioinorganic chemists, translating their innovations into the next generation of radiometal-based radiopharmaceuticals.
He was previously awarded the Alexander Cohen Postgraduate travel award to work in the laboratories of Prof Jean-Pierre Sauvage at Université Strasbourg (formally Université Louis Pasteur) while studying for a PhD at the University of Western Australia.