Oncology

12 Nov 2019

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How Targeted Radionuclide Therapy For Cancer Treatment Differs From Chemo and Radio

When searching through the web, you may have come with targeted radionuclide therapy, also called molecular targeted therapy. This therapy is based on using radioactive elements for treating several cancer types. These elements are attached to drugs when injected into the bloodstream. They are called radiopharmaceuticals and consist of:

  • a radionuclide (radioactive atom)
  • a special molecule that scans your organism and kills the cancer cells so-called “cell-targeting molecule”

Radionuclide therapy was applied for the first time in 1994 in Europe. From that time every year 1,200+ patients have 500+ cycles and its number continues growing.
What differs radionuclide treatment from traditional methods of cancer treatment is while radio and chemo poison healthy cells of your body while killing the malignant ones, molecular treatment for cancer focuses only on tumours and their reduction.
Since its advent in the middle of the 20th century, a range of medications for radionuclide therapy has appeared. Some of them are:

  • Lutetium-177
  • Iodine-131
  • Samarium-153
  • Strontium-89 chloride
  • Radium-223 dichloride

Targeted Therapy to Treat Prostate Cancer with good rates of efficacy and a high percentage of remissions

Lutetium-177 as a medication is widely applied to treat prostate cancer patients.
The thing is, each prostate cell contains protein on its surface. It’s called prostate-specific membrane antigen, or PSMA in brief. Prostate cancer patients have a lot of PSMAs, and if a patient has metastases, they can be detected as PSMA will be found there. That’s why Lutetium 177-PSMA was developed — to unveil this protein and to attack solely the cells containing it.

Targeted Radionuclide Therapy to decrease thyroid cancer, bone metastases and lymphoma

Although radionuclide therapy was initially used for treating men with prostate cancer, further research was conducted to prove that the therapy is effective for other cancer types.
Now patients suffering from thyroid cancer, bone metastases and lymphoma can also benefit from targeted radionuclide therapy.
If you’re interested, click the button below to get detailed information on the treatment.

What Benefits Targeted Radionuclide Therapy Offers and What Side Effects You May Face

After a range of research, both oncologists and patients outline the following advantages of molecular targeted therapy:

  1. Identifying all the harmful cancer cells in your body, wherever they might be, and reaching them
  2. Affecting only tumours
  3. Leaving other cells of the body untouched
  4. Gradually reducing tumours injection by injection

Patients rarely face side effects, but:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Mouth/Eyes dryness
  • Myelosuppression (decrease in the production of red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet) that leads to feeling weak

Can occur.

However, if some side effects appear, you don’t have to be afraid as you’re under doctors’ control: the team will help you to relieve them.

Where to Find Molecular Targeted Therapy Clinics and How to Get Approved?

Though, not so many clinics in the world major in alternative means of cancer treatment. You may find several in Europe, for example.
There’s also one clinic in Latvia, that offers not only molecular targeted therapy but other methods you can combine to increase your chances of getting rid of the disease.
This clinic widely uses Lutetium-177 (or Lu-177 in brief) as a basis of radionuclide treatment. To get approved for molecular treatment, make sure your diagnosis is one of those mentioned below:

  • prostate cancer
  • bone metastases
  • lymphoma
  • thyroid cancer

and start collecting your medical documents for review. For your cancer case to get assessed by a team of oncological experts, you need to provide:

  • general clinical and biochemical blood test no older than 10 days
  • PSMA PET-CT scanning results no older than 2 months
  • medical history records

Once our oncologists receive this information from you, they’ll evaluate your case within 2–3 working days to conclude whether you can benefit from the therapy.
Still have any questions? Fill in the form on the right to get the detailed answers from our managers within 24 hours.

How Molecular Treatment For Cancer Takes Place In The Clinic and What’s Waiting For You After Onsite Treatment?

Once all formalities are agreed upon, you’ll find yourself in a comfortable car with English-speaking driver who’ll meet you at Riga International Airport to transfer you to the clinic

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When you arrive for radionuclide treatment, you’ll get several injections of Lu-177. Each injection takes from 20 to 30 minutes (you’ll have the catheter in your arm). During the treatment, you’ll get from 3 to 6 slow injections with breaks in between. In addition to targeted radionuclide therapy, you’ll get:

  • professional advice from an immunologist, radiologist and oncologist how your body interacts with therapy
  • SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) examination on the following day after the first injection to observe the blood flow to tissues and organs
  • personal nutrition and treatment plan
  • 24/7 support (both administrative and medical) to ensure constant monitoring of your treatment progress
  • sessions with specialists in art therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, acupuncture
  • cosy accommodation, equipped with wi-fi, TV, fridge, suitable for living together with your accompanying person.

Dwelling and treating in the clinic takes a minimum of 3 days. The price is around 14,000 EUR. To get a more accurate estimation, please, fill in the form on the right.
When you leave the clinic, your treatment doesn’t stop as you’ll have to maintain results achieved in Latvia while performing a follow-up program. What do you have to do?

  1. Take blood tests every 2–3 weeks.
  2. Pay attention to your kidneys and liver’s performance by taking appropriate tests every 6–8 weeks.
  3. Examine your body after each treatment cycle.
  4. Make scintigraphy after each treatment cycle to observe the accumulation of radiopharmaceuticals in your body, as well as the general effectiveness of targeted radionuclide therapy.

How long should the treatment last?
There are no average indicators as treatment duration varies from patient to patient.But when determining the duration of your stay in Latvia, that starts from 3 days, pay attention to cumulative absorbed dose in the salivary glands and kidneys.
How long should the periods between treatment cycles take?
Of course, your body needs to recover from radiopharmaceuticals. Generally, it’s better to have a break from 6 to 8 weeks as your hematopoietic system will recover during this period.
Is the treatment toxic?
You can apply Lutetium 177-PSMA up to 7 treatment cycles not to exceed an acceptable level of toxicity.

After you fill in the form on the right kindly note that:

  • we’ll get back to you within 24 hours including weekends and holidays with simple step-by-step instructions
  • having your medical files in a digital format will help the oncologists evaluate your case within 2–3 business days
  • free conveniences during your stay in Latvia include a laptop, a mobile phone, a gym, city bicycles, and more

IMPORTANT: Remember to double-check your phone number and email for accuracy.