Liesa Tack

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Liesa Tack

Drug Quality and Registration (DruQuaR) group
Ottergemsesteenweg 460, 9000 Ghent (Belgium)

Phone: + 32 (0)9 264.80.99 (secr. 81.01)
Fax: + 32 (0)9 264.81.93



Ph.D. research


Title: Somatropin derivatives for imaging and treatment of GH-R expressing melanoma


Melanoma are considered to be one of the most deadliest cancers worldwide, originating in melanocytes in skin and mucosa, with metastasis to other organs being very difficult to treat. Growth hormone (GH) and the growth hormone-receptor (GHR) (normally involved in regulatory processes like metabolism, balanced growth, and differentiated cell expression) may play a role in metastasis and invasion of human melanoma since the human GHR was found to be over-expressed in i.a. different melanoma cell lines. Thus, the human growth hormone (recombinant prepared: somatropin) can now be used to visualize and treat these types of cancer in human.

The main goal is to develop a tumor-selective protein drug (i.e. somatropin) which can be used for diagnosis and treatment of melanoma. Therefore, somatropin and derivates will be labeled with a radioactive marker (68Ga for diagnosis and 177Lu for treatment), chemically characterized using chromatographic (e.g. UPLC-MS) and spectroscopic (e.g. CD) techniques. Their theranostic potential are investigated using in-vitro ligand binding techniques (e.g. native MS and bioassays), followed by in vivo preclined pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic studies in cancer mouse models. Finally, human clinical trials are envisaged.

This research is a collaboration with prof. C. Van de Wiele (UGent), prof. A. Maes (KUL-Kortrijk) and prof. M. Sathekge (University of Pretoria, South Africa).

Keywords: melanoma, growth hormone, growth hormone-receptor, somatropin derivatives, theranostics