A Novel Form of Radiotherapy
177Lu-PSMA is an alternative, novel form of radiotherapy to treat prostate cancer.
Prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is a protein which is found on the surface of most prostate cancer cells, but not on healthy cells. Therefore, PSMA can be used to identify which cells are cancerous and which are healthy. It can even be attached to a radioactive molecule, called lutetium- 177 (177Lu), to guide it directly to the cancer cells, without damaging healthy cells.
177Lu-PSMA is injected into the bloodstream and the radioactive molecules are taken up inside the cancer cells where they shower them with DNA-damaging radiation. 177Lu-PSMA can target multiple cancer sites at the same time so it can help those whose prostate cancer has spread to other places in the body.
177Lu-PSMA is becoming more and more available in the UK and could treat many patients with fewer side-effects than standard radiotherapy. However, it does not work for all patients at the moment.