Michael Rod Zalutsky


Jonathan Spicehandler, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Neuro Oncology, in the School of Medicine

The overall objective of our laboratory is the development of novel radioactive compounds for improving the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This work primarily involves radiohalo-genation of biomolecules via site-specific approaches, generally via demetallation reactions. Radionuclides utilized for imaging include I-123, I-124 and F-18, the later two being of particular interest because they can be used for the quantification of biochemical and physiological processes in the living human through positron emission tomography. For therapy, astatine-211 decays by the emission of alpha-particles, a type of radiation considerably more cytotoxic that the beta-particles used in conventional endoradiotherapy. The range of At-211 alpha particles is only a few cell diameters, offering the possibility of extremely focal irradiation of malignant cells while leaving neighboring cells intact. Highlights of recent work include: a)
development of reagents for protein and peptide radioiodination that decrease deiodination in vivo by up to 100-fold, b) demonstration that At-211 labeled monoclonal antibodies are effective in the treatment of a rat model of neoplastic meningitis, c) synthesis of a thymidine analogue labeled with At-211 and the demonstration that this molecule is taken up in cellular DNA with highly cytotoxicity even at levels of only one atom bound per cell and d) development of
radiohalobenzylguanidines which are specifically cytotoxic for human neuroblastoma cells.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Spicehandler, M.D. Distinguished Professor of Neuro Oncology, in the School of Medicine
  • Professor of Radiology
  • Professor of Radiation Oncology
  • Professor in Pathology
  • Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 311 Research Drive, 161H Bryan Res Bldg, Durham, NC 27710
  • Office Phone: (919) 684-7708
  • Email Address: zalut001@mc.duke.edu
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis, 1974
  • M.A. Washington University in St. Louis, 1972

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • MERIT Award. National Institutes of Health. 2005

Courses Taught

  • PATHOL 293: Research Independent Study
  • PATHOL 793: Research Independent Study

Representative Publications

  • Babak, MV; Zalutsky, MR; Balyasnikova, IV, Heterogeneity and vascular permeability of breast cancer brain metastases., Cancer Lett, vol 489 (2020), pp. 174-181 [10.1016/j.canlet.2020.06.012] [abs].
  • Zhou, Z; Zalutsky, MR; Vaidyanathan, G, Labeling a TCO-functionalized single domain antibody fragment with 18F via inverse electron demand Diels Alder cycloaddition using a fluoronicotinyl moiety-bearing tetrazine derivative., Bioorg Med Chem, vol 28 no. 17 (2020) [10.1016/j.bmc.2020.115634] [abs].
  • Vaidyanathan, G; Pozzi, OR; Choi, J; Zhao, X-G; Murphy, S; Zalutsky, MR, Labeling Monoclonal Antibody with α-emitting 211At at High Activity Levels via a Tin Precursor., Cancer Biother Radiopharm, vol 35 no. 7 (2020), pp. 511-519 [10.1089/cbr.2019.3204] [abs].
  • Feng, Y; Zhou, Z; McDougald, D; Meshaw, RL; Vaidyanathan, G; Zalutsky, MR, Site-specific radioiodination of an anti-HER2 single domain antibody fragment with a residualizing prosthetic agent., Nucl Med Biol (2020) [10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2020.05.002] [abs].
  • Rosenkranz, AA; Slastnikova, TA; Georgiev, GP; Zalutsky, MR; Sobolev, AS, Delivery systems exploiting natural cell transport processes of macromolecules for intracellular targeting of Auger electron emitters., Nucl Med Biol, vol 80-81 (2020), pp. 45-56 [10.1016/j.nucmedbio.2019.11.005] [abs].