What is Theranostics?
Theranostics enables us to combine a fast and accurate cancer diagnosis with precisely targeted therapy. It’s particularly effective for cancers that are difficult to treat or aren’t responding to conventional therapies.
At GenesisCare, we offer Theranostics treatments for metastatic prostate cancer ( 177Lutetium PSMA therapy) and neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) ( 177Lutetium octreotate therapy).
Frequently asked questions
Personalised medicine is the concept of tailoring diagnostics and treatments to the individual, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. There are many factors that determine your risk to certain diseases and how well you will respond to treatments – such as your genetics, lifestyle and environment. By analysing this information along with your diagnosis and clinical records, your doctors can determine the most effective treatment plan for you and your needs.
Theranostics is a type of personalised medicine, where your treatment will be personalised to you based on information from your diagnostic scans. These scans are very detailed and enable your doctors to determine whether the treatment will work for you and, if so, the treatment dose and how many doses you should have.
Nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radioactive materials, called radioactive isotopes or radioisotopes, to diagnose and treat diseases. These are also called radiotracers for diagnostics (such as 68Gallium) and radiopharmaceuticals for treatments (such as <sup>177</sup>Lutetium). Nuclear medicine is often used in diagnosing and treating cancer. Theranostics is a type of nuclear medicine.
Theranostics uses one type of radioactive isotope, called 68Gallium, to identify or diagnose cancerous targets known as tumour receptors. It then uses a second type of radioactive isotope, called <sup>177</sup>Lutetium to treat them. If the tumour receptors are visible on a PET/CT scan, the <sup>177</sup>Lutetium isotope can travel directly to the main tumour and any secondary ones (metastatic tumours) where it delivers a dose of radiation and destroys the cancerous cells, while avoiding healthy tissues.
Our Theranostics treatments are offered as outpatient appointments in our state–of–the–art therapy suites and are typically delivered in up to four to six cycles, with each treatment lasting between four to six hours
Theranostics treatment may be suitable for you if you have cancer that has metastasised and spread to other places in your body, and if previous treatments haven’t worked or you’re unable to tolerate them. Treatment will not be available to women who are pregnant, and it is advised that both men and women should not try to conceive during and for at least six months after treatment.
Like all cancer treatments, there can be side effects. During and after treatment, you may experience:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased symptoms of your cancer for a short time
You may also have reduced production of blood cells for a while as your bone marrow – which produces blood cells – can also take up some radiation from the 177Lutetium PSMA or 177Lutetium octreotate. You’ll have regular blood tests to keep track of any changes to your blood.
If you’re undergoing Theranostics treatment and experience side effects, you should speak to your consultant or care team. They can advise you on ways to help relieve side effects, such as changing your diet or gentle exercise, or prescribe medication if required.
All patients at GenesisCare have access to personalised wellbeing therapies through our partnership with the Penny Brohn UK charity. These therapies include counselling, reflexology and acupuncture, and have been shown to help people manage the side effects of treatment and relieve cancer-related concerns. We also offer every patient an exercise medicine programme which is proven to help improve treatment tolerance, function, fatigue and quality of life.
<sup>177</sup>Lutetium PSMA therapy is available in our state-of-the-art therapy suite in Windsor. We also provide free transport for patients throughout the UK and we can help organise accommodation near the centre if required.
<sup>177</sup>Lutetium octreotate therapy will be available at our Oxford and Windsor centres from July 2020.