Jun 3, 2021

Radiopharmaceuticals Emerging as New Cancer Therapy

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Radiation therapy was first used to treat cancer more than 100 years ago. About half of all cancer patients still receive it at some point during their treatment. And until recently, most radiation therapy was given much as it was 100 years ago, by delivering beams of radiation from outside the body to kill tumors inside the body.

Though effective, external radiation can also cause collateral damage. Even with modern radiation therapy equipment, “you have to [hit] normal tissue to get to a tumor,” said Charles Kunos, M.D., Ph.D., of NCI’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP). The resulting side effects of radiation therapy depend on the area of the body treated but can include loss of taste, skin changes, hair loss, diarrhea, and sexual problems.

Now, researchers are developing a new class of drugs called radiopharmaceuticals, which deliver radiation therapy directly and specifically to cancer cells. The last several years have seen an explosion of research and clinical trials testing new

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