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Lutetium PSMA Therapy

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A series of x-ray images when taken for variable angles and combined together through computer processing, it creates cross-sectional images of the organs. The technique is known as the CT Scan ( Computer Tomography). It is a quick examiner of any type of internal injuries and can scan any body part which helps the doctor to plan for the treatment and medication, be it surgical or through radiations.

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February 2024

What is Lutetium PSMA therapy

This innovative treatment for prostate cancer involves a targeted radiation drug. A form of the metal lutetium, called lutetium-177, is attached to a molecule that locks in on prostate cancer cells. It does this by binding to a protein called PSMA that is predominantly found on the surface of prostate cancer cells. Normal cells in the body usually don’t have many of these PSMA receptors. 

When injected into the bloodstream, the lutetium homes in on its target. It seeks out and destroys cancer cells from within by delivering radiation precisely to where it’s needed most. Thanks to its ability to selectively attack PSMA receptors, this therapy spares many healthy cells from radiation exposure. It brings customized care directly to the prostate cancer for maximum effect with limited side effects elsewhere in the body. 

How Does it Work

In this treatment, a molecule is designed to specifically seek out prostate cancer cells. It does this by attaching to a protein called PSMA that sits on the surface of cancer cells. Known as a “PSMA ligand”, this targeting molecule is then linked up to a radioactive form of the element lutetium, called lutetium-177. 

Once injected into the bloodstream, this customized radiation package travels through the body. It homing in on and binding tightly to PSMA receptors on any prostate cancer present. With the lutetium-177 now delivered directly to the tumor, it gets to work destroying those cancerous cells from the inside out through a localized dose of radiation.

Since the radiation is concentrated precisely on the cancer and doesn’t spread far, the healthy tissues nearby are largely spared from exposure. Within just a few days, the small amount of remaining radioactive material passes safely out of the body through the kidneys and is gone. This cutting-edge treatment allows for targeted radiation right against the prostate cancer with limited effects elsewhere.  

What Are The Benefits Of Lutetium PSMA Therapy

  • Effective tumour control: The therapy directly targets prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA), a protein highly expressed in prostate cancer cells. This targeted approach minimizes damage to healthy tissues compared to traditional radiation therapy.
  • Improves symptoms: By controlling tumour growth, the therapy can alleviate pain, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with advanced prostate cancer, leading to improved quality of life.
  • Minimal side effects: Compared to chemotherapy or other aggressive treatments, Lu-PSMA therapy typically has fewer and milder side effects like fatigue, dry mouth, nausea, and temporary changes in blood cell counts.
  • Preserve organ function: The targeted nature of the therapy avoids damaging healthy organs like the kidneys and bladder, which can be affected by other treatments.
    Promising clinical results: Early studies have shown encouraging results in terms of overall survival and progression-free survival in patients with advanced castration-resistant prostate cancer.

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How is This Lutetium PSMA Therapy Administered?

  • Lutetium PSMA therapy uses a radioactive isotope of lutetium (lutetium-177) attached to a PSMA ligand to target prostate cancer cells. PSMA stands for prostate-specific membrane antigen, which is highly expressed on prostate cancer cells.
  • The lutetium-177 emits beta radiation that destroys nearby prostate cancer cells while sparing most healthy cells. 
  • Patients receive an intravenous infusion of the lutetium-PSMA therapeutic compound. Common dosages are 7.4 GBq given every 6-8 weeks, up to a maximum of two treatments.
  • Patients are usually admitted to the hospital and isolated for 1-2 days post-infusion to allow the radioactivity levels to subside safely. Close monitoring includes blood tests and scintigraphy scans.  
  • Potential side effects are similar to other radiopharmaceutical therapies and may include temporary fatigue, nausea, vomiting, low blood cell counts. Long-term side effects are rare.
  • The treatment is generally well-tolerated and effectiveness can be assessed via PSA levels and imaging. It may help control prostate cancer that has spread when other treatments are no longer working.  

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