Systemic Radiation Therapy is the means of of treating cancer by delivering radioactive materials into a patient’s body, either orally or through an injection, rather than externally treating the patient with radioactive energy. These radiopharmaceuticals are often bound to a special antibody called a monoclonal antibody, that attaches to the cancer cells and releases radiation, destroying the cells.
Following treatment, the remaining radioactive materials can leave the patient’s body through sweat, urine, saliva, or blood. Since the patient’s body fluids can contain traces of radioactive materials, a patient will need to stay in a hospital one or two days following treatment.
Systemic Radiation Therapy is generally used when treating cancers of the thyroid, bone, and prostate.
Xofigo (also known as radium Ra 223 dichloride) is a radiopharmaceutical designed to treat the advanced stages of prostate cancer. In most cases Metastatic prostate cancer will eventually move to a patient’s bones, causing pain and possible death do to skeletal events.
Xofigo works by binding with the minerals in a patient’s bones and delivering radiation directly to bone tumors, limiting the damage to the surrounding normal tissues and helping prevent skeletal events.
Zevalin is a radiopharmaceutical used in the treatment of certain types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Zevalin binds radioactive isotope yttrium-90 with a monoclonal antibody targeting CD20 antigen. This antigen is found on the surface of mature B cells and B-cell tumors, allowing Zevalin to deliver radiation directly to malignant cells.