A new, targeted form of cancer therapy is effective and well-tolerated in patients, but must be taken within days of its manufacture, according to CNBC. Manufacturer Novartis is confident that more people will soon be able to get the treatments in time.
How it works: “Radioligand therapy, also called radionuclide or radiopharmaceutical therapy, is a targeted form of [radioisotope-containing] cancer treatment that delivers radiation directly to cancer cells. While other forms of cancer treatment can target any rapidly dividing cells in the body, radioligand therapy’s precision helps limit damage to healthy, surrounding tissue.”
The treatment: The radioligand therapies Novartis manufactures—Lutathera, a treatment for neuroendocrine tumors, and Pluvicto, a prostate cancer therapy—expire three and five days, respectively, from their dates of manufacture.
- “Novartis manufactures radioligand therapy at three sites in Italy, Spain and New Jersey, and has a fourth facility slated to open in Indiana next year. [Novartis Global Head of Radioligand Therapy Jeevan] Virk said between 70 to 150 people work in each facility, and the site in Indiana will be Novartis’ largest to date.”
Why it’s important: Radioligand therapy has put cancer patients into remission, including those who have exhausted all other available treatment options.
What’s next: “As demand for radioligand therapy increases, Novartis’ challenge is to scale up access and awareness about the medication. Virk … said the company is working with health care systems, governments and other regulatory agencies around the world to improve its operations.”