UT Health San Antonio becomes first civilian center in South Texas to launch FDA-approved radiotherapy treatment for advanced prostate cancer

Contact: Eileen Teves, 210-450-7239, tevese@uthscsa.edu

SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 6, 2023The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) announces the successful launch of Pluvicto, a radiopharmaceutical used to treat patients with advanced metastatic prostate cancer.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March of 2022, Pluvicto is a novel targeted molecular therapy that delivers radiation treatment directly to prostate-specific membrane antigen positive (PSMA+) metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

PSMA is a biomarker that sits on the outside of prostate cancer cells. Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is a type of prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and is no longer responding to hormone treatment that lowers testosterone.

When administered, Pluvicto attaches to the PSMA+ cancer cell and is absorbed by the cell. It releases radiation, damaging and removing PSMA+ and other nearby cells but sparing the healthy tissue around it. According to recent studies, nearly 30% of men treated with Pluvicto plus the basic standard of care had tumors shrink or disappear compared to two percent of patients who received only basic standard of care.

“We are proud to launch this targeted therapy program and offer Pluvicto to patients with metastatic prostate cancer,” said Penny Vroman, MD, nuclear radiologist and associate professor at UT Health San Antonio. “Providing this method of treatment in South Texas means more positive outcomes for patients in San Antonio and the surrounding areas. It means men with prostate cancer can live longer, improving their quality of life.”

Nuclear radiologists from the department of radiology at UT Health Medical Arts and Research Center (MARC) will administer Pluvicto through intravenous infusion. Treatment has already begun for two out of five planned patients selected for the program. When the initial program is complete, this therapy will be available to the community beginning in 2024. The initial five patients were referred by oncologists from the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In earlier clinical studies, men with PSMA+ mCRPC who received Pluvicto plus basic standard of care lived a median of four months longer without cancer growing or spreading compared to patients who only received basic standard of care alone. Additional findings include 46% of men treated with Pluvicto plus basic standard of care had their PSA level drop by at least half compared to 7% of patients treated with only basic standard of care.

Before treatment, a PSMA PET CT will check for PSMA+ cancer cells. A team of providers, which may include a medical oncologist, urologist, radiation oncologist, nuclear medicine physician and other specialists, will work with the patient on managing care. Laboratory tests will be performed before and during treatment to monitor the patient’s progress. Patients will receive up to six treatments of Pluvicto, once every six weeks, depending on the body’s response to therapy.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States.  About one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Age is generally a risk factor in prostate cancer, and it is more likely to develop in men aged 65 and older.

Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Week is October 1-7, an opportunity to recognize medical professionals in the field and to educate patients about the use of nuclear medicine procedures and their benefits over other treatment and imaging modalities.

Patients are encouraged to discuss their eligibility for Pluvicto with their oncologist. To learn more about cancer programs at the Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, visit MaysCancerCenter.org/CancerPrograms.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) is one of the country’s leading health science universities and is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. With missions of teaching, research, patient care and community engagement, its schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions, graduate biomedical sciences and public health have graduated more than 42,200 alumni who are leading change, advancing their fields and renewing hope for patients and their families throughout South Texas and the world. To learn about the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit UTHealthSA.org.

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The Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, is one of only four National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Centers in Texas. The Mays Cancer Center provides leading-edge cancer care, propels innovative cancer research and educates the next generation of leaders to end cancer in South Texas. To learn more, visit MaysCancerCenter.org.

Stay connected with the Mays Cancer Center on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube.


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