Radiopharma treatment can help cancer therapy

Targeted therapy with radiopharmaceuticals could greatly improve cancer treatment, especially for cancer cells that have migrated from primary tumors to lymph nodes and secondary organs, according to a new study.

Researchers from Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School Cancer Center treated breast cancer cells with different concentrations of four fluorochrome-conjugated monoclonal antibodies (Journal of Nuclear Medicine, December 2014, Vol. 55:12, pp. 2012-2019).

"Our approach moves radiation treatment planning for cancer therapy from the tumor level to the molecular and cellular level, with nuclear medicine serving as the treatment engine," said co-author Roger Howell, PhD, in a statement.

Patients do not have to receive any radiopharmaceutical injections during the planning phase; rather, they receive radiopharmaceuticals during the treatment phase, when a cocktail specifically optimized for the individual is administered, he added.

The approach is designed to spare patients from receiving ineffective cocktails that may damage normal tissues and prevent further treatment.

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