Cancer hospital launches nuclear medicine-based trial

Cai Wenjun
The Shanghai Cancer Center has successfully completed the city's first clinical trial of a nuclear medicine-based advanced therapy to treat neuroendocrine tumors.
Cai Wenjun

The Shanghai Cancer Center announced on Friday that it has completed the city's first clinical trial of a nuclear medicine-based advanced therapy for neuroendocrine tumors.

Peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT) uses Lutetium-177 dotatate to deliver a precise attack on malignant cells via biological and radiation therapy.

The first patient was a 58-year-old woman with a two-year relapse. Despite several medications, the cancer continued to grow. Doctors opted to give her radiation therapy, which acts within the body like a nuclear weapon, targeting malignant cells.

Shanghai Cancer Center has China's highest number of patients suffering from neuroendocrine tumors. The disease is a malignancy that can grow in any part of the body, including hair and nails, and its prevalence has been increasing in recent years.

"The primary treatment for this disease is surgery," said Dr Chen Jie, chief specialist of the hospital's interdisciplinary neuroendocrine tumor team. "However, because the majority of neuroendocrine tumors grow slowly and have low malignancy, most patients miss out on surgery after being diagnosed."

"Compared with traditional medicine, PRRT therapy has a significant advantage. Clinical trials conducted in other countries have confirmed that the therapy can lower the risk of disease development or mortality by 79 percent, with 16 to 30 percent of patients reporting tumor shrinkage," Chen said.

Dr Yu Xianjun, president of Shanghai Cancer Center, said that the launch of PRRT therapy was an important milestone in clinical research on neuroendocrine tumors because it will build a database and guidelines based on the treatments received by Chinese patients.

"Our goal is to turn our hospital into a national cancer center," Yu said.

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