Cancer is one of the deadliest diseases we can battle as humans. While cancer has existed for decades, there is still no known cure for the disease. However, there are treatments such as the use of radiopharmaceuticals to treat cancer patients. Radiopharmaceuticals are a drug with multiple characteristics that make them suitable for cancer treatment, such as their radioactive properties. So, how do radiopharmaceuticals help fight cancer?
How Radiopharmaceuticals Work
Radiopharmaceuticals have radioactive properties that can directly target cancerous cells. Once the cells are targeted, they can bind to these cells and emit radiation that kills the harmful cells without causing harm to the surrounding healthy tissue. Radiopharmaceuticals can be injected through systemic liquid radiation through the whole body or oral therapy to treat cancers such as thyroid cancer or eliminate bone pain associated with some cancers.
Types of Radiation Therapy
A common type of radiation therapy for cancer treatment is radioimmunotherapy. Radioimmunotherapy uses small amounts of radioactive material with a monoclonal antibody or an antibody that is designed to stick to specific antigens. The radioactive material can attach to cancer cells while the monoclonal antibody is delivered to the cancerous cells.
Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT)
Another type of radiation therapy is peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT). PRRT treatment uses radioactive substances with a peptide-protein to create a radiopeptide. The radiopeptide will find and attach to certain cancer cells and deliver a high dose of radiation directly to the cells.
External Radiation Therapy
Radiopharmaceuticals can also be used to alleviate bone pain associated with cancer through external radiation therapy. Cancer that has spread to bones can be extremely painful. External radiation therapy is used by pointing the radiation directly at the bone exhibiting pain.
Radiopharmaceuticals play an integral role in cancer treatment. Using radioimmunotherapy and PRRT are a few ways radiopharmaceuticals help fight cancer.