MU Health Care pilots breakthrough treatment for prostate cancer

Treatment uses radioisotopes produced in the University of Missouri Research Reactor.

Dec. 14, 2023

University of Missouri Health Care has initiated its first treatment using an FDA-approved targeted radioactive medicine for advanced metastatic prostate cancer.

Pluvicto® is the brand name for the radiopharmaceutical, which includes lutetium-177 (Lu-177), a radioisotope only produced in the United States at the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR). This treatment shows promise in cases when metastatic prostate cancer has continued to progress after other interventions, such as chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.

“This therapy is very promising for patients whose prostate cancer continues to advance following other treatments,” said Gregory Biedermann, an MU Health Care radiation oncologist. “Administration involves a total of six injections spaced six weeks apart. The injections take less than 10 minutes and there are no other medications required.”

MU Health Care is utilizing this treatment as part of its innovation approval track, where novel therapies receive health system approval for implementation on a pilot basis. This pilot is a collaboration of nuclear medicine and radiation oncology, and the first infusion was completed at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.

“Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy offers hope for those with advanced metastatic prostate cancer,” said Amolak Singh, a nuclear medicine physician and professor of radiology at MU Health Care. “The collaboration here at the University of Missouri to bring this product from MURR, through the research process, and into clinical application is an extraordinary example of our commitment to precision medicine.”

In 2021, MURR entered into an exclusive multi-year agreement with Advanced Accelerator Applications International, SA (ADACAP), a Novartis company, to provide Lu-177, the key ingredient in Pluvicto and Lutathera®, a similar infusion treatment for neuroendocrine tumors. Lutathera treatment is already fully implemented and available at MU Health Care’s Ellis Fischel Cancer Center.

“Lutetium-177 is a major success story for the university and MURR,” said Matt Sanford, executive director of MURR. “The scientific breakthroughs by our researchers and partners are improving and saving millions of lives every year, and we continue to research and develop essential radioisotopes used in treatments that benefit the citizens of Missouri and the nation.”

The FDA approved Pluvicto for treatment of metastatic prostate cancer in March 2022. MU Health Care may offer Pluvicto widely in the future following the completion of the innovation pilot process.

Read more about lutetium-177 here.