Sunday, May 28, 2023

Nuclear medicine treatment revolutionizing the fight against cancer in Grenada

When talking about nuclear medicine, society generally comes up with two views. The first, which is an area focused solely on diagnosis, with machines such as PET-CT, which are used to find where the cancer is located. Second, that everything radioactive seems dangerous. However, currently nuclear medicine is also used to treat diseases. And radioactive material saves lives.

These concepts will be addressed at the 39th Congress of the Spanish Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, being held in Granada from tomorrow to Friday, with 600 attendees. It will deal with new targeted therapies for oncological diseases, among other topics. This is how Antonio Rodríguez of Granada, organizer and president of the Andalusian society that works in this area at the Virgen de las Nieves University Hospital, describes it this way.

The great innovation that has been taking shape for years “and that is now going to explode” is the so-called theragnosis, which combines diagnosis with therapy to treat cancer and is already being implemented in Granada. When performing a diagnostic test, molecules containing radioactive isotopes that selectively stick to the tumor are introduced into the body, allowing images to be seen where it is located. Then, in those same molecules, the imaging isotope is removed and a treatment isotope is introduced in its place, which destroys the DNA of the cancer cells.

“The radiopharmaceutical acts specifically on tumor cells without harming healthy ones, it is a targeted and selective therapy. It is administered intravenously for several cycles and the patient goes home”, explains Antonio Rodríguez. Side effects are “minimal”, in contrast to what occurs with conventional chemotherapy. Its effectiveness has already been proven in some neuroendocrine tumors such as those of the pancreas, lung or small intestine—and when approved by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (AMPS), may benefit some types of prostate cancer. Is.

Granada is a pioneer in this technique and in another, radioembolization, which treats liver lesions. The vascular radiologist performs a catheterization, reaches the artery feeding the tumor and releases radioactive spheres that selectively destroy it without damaging the liver. “We are one of those that perform the most of these types of techniques in Spain,” says the Virgen de las Nieves professional. Furthermore, it is being developed for future application in pancreatic cancer, in this case via digestive endoscopy. “The endoscopist accesses the tumor through a tube in the mouth and spheres are injected to try to shrink it so that it can be operated on.”

The congress will discuss another procedure that has not yet been implemented in the province, but will be soon: targeted therapy for skin cancer, through an ointment that kills cancer in hard-to-reach areas. «There are areas where the surgery is disfiguring, such as the lips, nose or ears, but this ointment gives fantastic results. We have resident doctors who are learning how it works in Italy, where it is already being used”, explains Antonio Rodríguez.

Alzheimer’s and Planning Inveat

Apart from this, the Congress will analyze other aspects. One of the most striking is Alzheimer’s disease. “When celebrities come out saying they know they are going to develop it in the future, the diagnosis is made by a nuclear medicine test,” Antonio Rodriguez warned. In this sense, a new radiopharmaceutical, pending approval by Amps, will have an even greater impact on this early diagnosis.

Finally, he will discuss the High Technology Equipment Investment Plan (InvIT), which will renew all that are more than twelve years old. “We will talk about it and how the diagnosis is now more sophisticated”, concluded Antonio Rodríguez, who has achieved his personal goal of bringing the most important congress in Spain on nuclear medicine to Granada.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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