New Low-cost Prostate Cancer Tracer Shows Promise for Early Diagnosis in More Patients

New Low-cost Prostate Cancer Tracer Shows Promise for Early Diagnosis in More Patients
A PhD student at King's College London in England developed a new prostate cancer tracer — called 68Ga-THP-PSMA — that is low-cost, quick, and easy to produce. The tracer, which targets the PSMA protein, can be easily produced in smaller clinics and hospitals and is expected to extend diagnostic scans to more patients. The radioactive compound was developed by Jennifer Young with support from King's College London and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust. It is designed for use in positron emission emission tomography (PET) scans. The study describing the manufacturing process and preclinical testing is titled, "68Ga-THP-PSMA: A PET Imaging Agent for Prostate Cancer Offering Rapid, Room-Temperature, 1-Step Kit-Based Radiolabeling," and appeared in The Journal of Nuclear Medicine. PET scans are a specialized radiology procedure that uses small amounts of a radiotracer to examine various body tissues. Specifically, PET studies evaluate the metabolism of a particular organ or tissue, helping doctors evaluate the organ’s function (physiology), structure (anatomy), and its biochemical properties. In cancer, PET tracers are usually designed to target a molecule that is highly produced by the cancer cells. This means that the r
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  1. Stephen B. Strum, MD, FACP says:

    The term is “theranostics” and there is no “g” in this relatively new term. This is an advance but what I see is 99% of oncologists still use Tc99 bone scanning and CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis & uncommonly use any form of PET/CT or PET/MRI imaging. Moreover, there are little head-to-head studies comparing one imaging modality with another in the context of site specific disease (e.g., bone, lymph node). This makes advances very slow in the translation to patient care. So we do not have patients with prostate cancer currently being scanned with 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT unless they are in a clinical trial and there are very few of those. The use of THP-PSMA PET/CT should be contrasted with the efficacy of 68Ga-PSMA-11 PET/CT unless that was reported in the referenced paper with senior author Hofman: Cold Kit PSMA PET Imaging: Phase I study of 68 Ga-THP-PSMA PET/CT in patients with prostate cancer.

    • Grace Frank says:

      Hello Dr. Strum, and thank you for your many comments and observations on our pages. We, too, think they are most appreciated by our readers. Just one comment on a minor point you address here: while the term theranostics is indeed spelled without a “g,” our reference to it in this article is to a radiopharmaceutical company, which does spell its name as Theragnostics —

      Again, thank you for interacting with our readers as you do.

      • Stephen B. Strum, MD, FACP says:

        I stand corrected. I visited the website above. Not much on it so far but apparently it is new. Strange that they would choose that spelling given that the term “theranostics” is used heavily in the PET literature. Also of interest is that Theragnostics has offices in both the UK and in the USA in Boston. The major work involving theranostics as it relates to prostate cancer stems out of Germany. Here in the USA we are just starting to use this approach in clinical trials (e.g., Cornell with Scott Tagawa). Even the ability to have men with PC evaluated with the imaging arm of theranostics using 68Ga-PSMA PET/CT is quite limited in the USA; we lag significantly behind the German investigators and clinicians.

  2. Major Seales says:

    Thank you so much for sharing such a useful and informative article. It is very important for everybody to support the people suffering from prostate cancer. It is necessary for them to get proper treatment along with the emotional and personal support. I read an article recently giving common Prostate cancer treatment options Long Island according to the stage diagnosed at

    1. Stage I Watchful waiting
    Radiation therapy or radical prostatectomy

    2. Stage II Radical prostatectomy
    External beam radiation and brachytherapy, alone or combined

    3. Stage III Combinations of external beam radiation, hormone therapy, brachytherapy, and radical prostatectomy
    Watchful waiting
    Hormone therapy, sometimes with chemotherapy

    4. Stage IV Combinations of external beam radiation, brachytherapy, and hormone therapy
    Radical prostatectomy
    TURP surgery
    Bone metastases treatments

    • Stephen B. Strum, MD, FACP says:

      Major, the above is really a terrible oversimplification of what each man with PC (prostate cancer) faces insofar as treatment options. First, the staging of this disease & most other cancers is SORELY inaccurate. In PC, for example, the assessment of spread to the lymph nodes is still being done with outdated imaging technology. We have advanced imaging but it is rarely used (< 5% of the time) i.e. "Optimized imaging in prostate cancer (PC) is absent 95% of the time at
      diagnosis or PSA recurrence." presented at ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) in San Francisco in 2006 — 11 years ago, and things have barely changed. And what is listed above for "stage IV" is pretty much off the mark. Who would be advocating TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate) in this context. All the other treatment options have major flaws in them as well. What is lacking so badly is the emphasis on accuracy of the patient's status (extent or stage of disease) + the patient context + the cancer kinetics as determined by PSAV (PSA velocity) and PSA doubling time (PSADT). It's just a very flawed set of recommendations in its superficiality.

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