The treatment, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is called Xofigo®. A radioactive substance, radium-223, is injected into the patient. Because it is similar to calcium, radium-223 binds to the bone. Radium-223 delivers high-energy radiation over a short distance, providing a targeted treatment that is less damaging to other structures or tissues, said Robert Wagner, MD, medical director of Nuclear Medicine in Loyola’s Department of Radiology.
Radium-223 is rapidly cleared from the bloodstream. Fifteen minutes after injection, about 20 percent of the injected radioactivity remains in the blood. By 24 hours, less than 1 percent of radioactivity remains.
Xofigo is recommended for prostate cancer patients in which:
§ The cancer has spread to the bones but not to other organs
§ The cancer is not responding to hormone therapy or surgery that blocks production of testosterone
§ The cancer that has spread to the bones is causing other serious symptoms
Radium-223 is injected into an IV line in a patient’s vein in a procedure that takes less than five minutes. The patient receives a series of six injections, given once every four to six weeks.
Side effects can include upset stomach, diarrhea, swelling in the hands and feet and decreased counts of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
“While the treatment is not a cure, it can enable patients to live longer, with significantly improved quality of life,” Wagner said.
Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.