Publish Date: 
Wednesday, April 24, 2024 - 10:15

Princess Alexandra Hospital home to world first prostate cancer trial

A new treatment called Targeted Alpha Therapy for difficult-to-treat cancers that have spread in the body is being trialled as a world-first at Princess Alexandra Hospital through the Integrated Theranostic Centre.

Patients with advanced prostate cancer can receive targeted alpha therapy which specifically targets and kills prostate cancer cells, minimising damage to healthy tissue and organs.

PA Hospital is partnering with AdvanCell, an Australian radiopharmaceutical company leveraging preclinical laboratories at TRI for the partnership and to develop innovative cancer treatments.

75-year-old Gary is the first person in the world to complete the treatment after he was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer in 2019.

“I was offered the trial at the PA and said yes straight away for two reasons. One for myself, and one for research because if I can help other people by doing this then that’s what I’m here for,” he said.

“Back in the day if you had cancer and you got chemo it was one size fits all. Whereas these days with technology they can produce different treatments for different cancers and this is just a new innovation for treating prostate cancer.

“I know you can’t cure metastatic prostate cancer but I’m a practical optimist so the longer I can stay here, well that’s great.”

Wife Mary said she’s seen a whole new side to her husband, compared to a few years ago.

“Our family said you need to start writing down end-of-life plans. And now we don’t even talk about it, it feels like it doesn’t need to be an option anymore.

“We’re all going to go one day, but I feel like I’ve got him around for a lot longer,” she said.

Nuclear Medicine Technologist and Research Officer Ingrid Holmes said PA Hospital is partnering with AdvanCell, which specialises in targeted alpha therapies based on a short-lived isotope attached to small molecules that bind and deliver alpha radiation directly to cancer cells via infusion. The powerful dose of therapy targets receptors that are overexposed on tumour cells and clears rapidly from the body.

“We are really excited to offer potential life changing theranostic treatments such as targeted alpha therapy at the PA Hospital,” said Ms Holmes.

“It’s vital we look at new, innovative treatments that give our patients the best possible outcome and also ensure they stay as healthy as possible while undergoing care.”

Theranostics involves an injection of a radioactive material that targets a specific cancer type. These agents have been shown to be highly effective, have fewer side effects and minimise damage to surrounding healthy tissues compared to conventional oncology treatments.

“We hope this world-first trial helping men with advanced metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer, will make a real impact and create meaningful change in people’s lives.”

The Integrated Theranostic Centre was formed in 2023 as a partnership between Radiology/Nuclear Medicine and Medical Oncology, making PA Hospital one of the few centres in Australia offering this service.

The targeted alpha therapy for prostate cancer trial is one of just a number of ground-breaking theranostics trials underway, which Medical Oncologist Dr Aaron Hansen said is positioning the PA as a leader in the field.

“PAH is also involved in a trial using a combination of theranostics and immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer (ES-SCLC),” he said. 

“Beside prostate cancer and ES-SCLC, we’re also involved in using theranostics for other clinical trials involving non-small cell lung cancers, merkel cell and renal cell carcinomas.

“We’re extremely excited about what the future holds as our service grows and new cancer treatments become available. At the end of the day, all of these studies and trials are about providing the best possible care to our patients,” said Dr Hansen.

The TheraPb clinical trial of targeted alpha therapy for prostate cancer is running for three years with plans for up to 100 patients to participate. Referrals are required to PAH Oncology.

This article has been republished from the Metro South Health website.