Southern California’s Hoag initiates Phase I Clinical Trial, becoming the first to treat Recurrent Neuroendocrine Cancers

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A new alpha radiation treatment could revolutionize cancer treatment.

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian became the first hospital to offer a clinical trial in Southern California, and is one of the few hospitals in the entire world to do so. This clinical trial could change the way cancer treatments are delivered.

Hoag has launched a phase one clinical trial to test Actinium 225 DOTATATE’s efficacy in treating recurrent Neuroendocrine Cancers. Actinium 225 DOTATATE, a molecular therapy agent, targets molecules called somatostatins on the surface neuroendocrine tumour cells. Actinium-225 then releases alpha-radiation to kill cancer cells after DOTATATE has targeted those molecules.

The new trial is aimed at patients who have a recurrence after Lutathera treatment, which uses beta radiation. Lutathera was approved by the FDA in 2018 to treat neuroendocrine cancers. Hoag Hospital and other hospitals started treating patients at the time with this agent. It temporarily kept cancer away. Lutathera becomes less effective over time and the cancerous tumors of patients progress.

The new agent is 100 times stronger than beta radiation and can treat cancers that are resistant to beta. Alpha radiation also travels a shorter distance than beta, so normal tissues are less likely to be damaged by the radiation. This should lead to fewer adverse effects, said Gary A. Ulaner M.D. Ph.D. F.A.C.N.M. at the Hoag Family Cancer Institute. Radiation, like any other form of systemic treatment, is a delicate balance. The more you do to fight cancer, the more side-effects you will get. The newer alpha-radiation therapies have a great impact on this balance act.

Patients with Hoag can now access this powerful treatment, which is only available in a handful of centers around the globe. If this clinical trial is successful, Dr. Ulaner thinks that other solid tumors, such as prostate and breast cancer, will be treated using alpha radiation therapy.

Dr. Ulaner stated, “I hope that this will be the most successful advance in molecular therapy and imaging that we have seen for many years.” The ability to create these molecules using alpha-emitting radio waves will be a major advance in molecular imaging over the next few years. It’s here at Hoag so that our patients can take advantage of it.”


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