Theranostics Group

Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in modern world. The transitions from normal to malignant cells manifest themselves clinically several years later through a series of complex interrelated changes at subcellular, cellular, tissue and organ level. This knowledge has resulted in a shift in research and management strategies in oncology. Focus has shifted now to diagnoses and treatment using specific targets at the subcellular, cellular and tissue level (hence theranostics). Radiolabelled probes and the concept of nuclear medicine are uniquely suited for exploiting these targets to overcome the ‘smart cancer cells’.  However, these targets overexpressed on cancer cells are not unique to them as the cancer cells themselves are the progeny of ‘normal’ cells. This poses several challenges in ‘theranostics’ that can be overcome by radiolabelled probes.

A radiolabelled probe has two components - a vector and a radionuclide. To increase diagnostic performance, first step in the validation of specificity of the vector component of a radiolabelled probe is through interlinking methods for in-vitro detection and quantification of targets e.g. immunohistochemistry, fluorescence imaging with ‘in-vivo molecular imaging’ using positron emission tomography. Apart from interlinking in-vitro in-vivo information, it is equally essential to characterize in-vivo distribution of radiolabelled probes for understanding their pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. The second component of a radiolabeled probe, radionuclides are responsible for high radiation dose in and around a cell, tissue and organ.  To achieve an optimal therapeutic index, i.e. maximum benefit and least side effects, properties of radionuclides need to be validated through ‘dosimetry’ concept.

A validated radiolabelled probe is however good for nothing if its clinical application is not properly selected in an interdisciplinary approach. Somatostatin receptor on neuroendocrine tumor (NET) and prostate specific membrane antigen on prostate cancer (PCa) cells have revolutionized the concept of management of NET and PCa. Parallel to the development of radiolabelled smart molecules several tumor-immune system related pathways have opened up a new era in individualized medicine. One of the ways to increase the efficacy (therapeutic index) of tumor immunotherapy is to radiolabel such drugs targeting e.g. tumor microenvironment with positron emitting radionuclides to confirm the target before treatment.

This research group will principally work on bringing together various disciplines like pathology, surgery, oncology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, urology, radiation oncology, and medical imaging for maximization of clinical application of targeted radionuclide probes in individualized treatment of cancer.


Theranostics with radiolabelled probes is slowly being accepted by faculties from other disciplines as an irrevocable integral part of the management of cancer patients. To bring this concept more closer to the oncologists, we are offering teaching lectures under the Master Online Study Program in Advanced Oncology at the University of Ulm.

We are collaborating with our Urology partner Dr. Friedemann Zengerling (Senior Physician, Department of Urology, Univ. Ulm) to find out appropriate targets based on clinical need to help our prostate cancer, renal cell cancer, urinary bladder and testicular cancer patients. Dr. Zengerling is responsible for the organization of our interdisciplinary Urology Tumor Board under the Umbrella of Comprehensive Cancer Centre Ulm.

Profilbild von apl. Prof. Dr. med. Vikas Prasad

apl. Prof. Dr. med. Vikas Prasad

Deputy Director

Study Case

mCRPC (Age-73 year), GS: 3+4 =7; First Diagnosis 02/2007.
Histology from liver metastases: moderately differentiated with partially neuroendocrine component; G3.
Post ADT inclusive Abiraterone, 9x Docetaxel, 28x Cabazitaxel


Contact Theranostic

Telefon +49 731 500 - 61301

Telefax +49 731 500 - 61302

University Hospital Ulm
Clinic for Nuclear Medicine
Albert-Einstein-Allee 23
89081 Ulm