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Radioactive material, hope for men with advanced prostate cancer

Photo: Hope for men with advanced prostate cancer
A highly-targeted treatment that uses a radioactive material has delivered some striking early results in men with advanced prostate cancer.

Radioactive material sourced from Australia's Lucas Heights nuclear reactor could prove life-saving for men with aggressive prostate cancer.

A small clinical trial of a new highly-targeted treatment for advanced prostate cancer, published in journal Lancet Oncology, has shown to have "remarkable" results.

The therapy treatment known as LuPSMA (Lutetium-177 PSMA-617) involves a radioactive molecule that is made to bind to prostate cancer cells.

The phase II clinical trial involved more than 30 patients with advanced disease who had exhausted all other treatment options.
Not only did the drug therapy kill the cancer cells, it reduced bone pain and improved quality of life.

"Our small proof-of-concept trial shows that LuPSMA is highly active in men with aggressive prostate cancers, and it can trigger striking responses in some men," said Professor Michael Hofman, who led the trial at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.

"That LuPSMA was able to achieve this in men who have exhausted conventional treatment options is remarkable, and we now look forward with great interest and optimism to results of our Australia-wide TheraP trial now underway," he said.

After treating the men with LuPSMA, all but one saw a decline in PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) levels - a blood biomarker for prostate cancer.

More than half (57 per cent or 17 of 30) showed at least a halving of their PSA levels.

A lowering of PSA levels in men with advanced disease indicates a reduction in cancer activity.

In six of the men (20 per cent) PSA levels had become almost undetectable.

Full body scans also confirmed dramatic changes in men before and after receiving LuPSMA.

"Some men also reported LuPSMA gave them rapid relief from otherwise severe bone pain and they had more energy for daily tasks and to enjoy their family time," added Professor Hofman.

Plans are now underway for a nationwide, randomised trial of LuPSMA.

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