ARA Theranostics shares a powerful new tool in the fight against prostate cancer!
Dr. Stan Spiridonov, a molecular radiologist with ARA Diagnostic Imaging, shares exciting information for men with advanced prostate cancer with KEYE-TV’s Trevor Scott on CBS Austin’s ‘We Are Austin.’
(Trevor Scott) Welcome back to “We Are Austin.”
There is new hope for men with advanced prostate cancer. It comes in the form of a new, innovative therapy that’s being offered right here in central Texas by ARA Diagnostic Imaging. One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. And while most will survive their prostate cancer, it is estimated that 32,000 men in the United States do die of this disease each year. ARA has always strived to offer the best and most advanced care for central Texans. And that now includes a treatment for advanced metastatic prostate cancer that was just recently approved by the FDA, exciting news.
Today we have Dr. Stan Spiridonov to join us today to tell us a little bit about this treatment. He’s the Molecular Radiologist with the ARA Theranostics Center. And he’s also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine at the University of Texas Dell Medical School and Vice President of ARA.
We are in very good company this morning, Doctor. Thank you for joining us today.
(Dr. Stan Spiridonov) Trevor, it’s a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for having me on the show.
(Trevor Scott) Yeah.
(Dr. Spiridonov) It’s a very exciting time to be in my field.
As you mentioned, there is a new therapy available for men with prostate cancer, and just over three weeks ago, we treated our first patient with the new therapy. It is called Lutetium 177 vipivotide tetraxetan.
(Trevor Scott) Wow.
(Dr. Spiridonov) Also known by a much easier to pronounce name Pluvicto. This was also the first treatment with Pluvicto in central Texas. And at the moment, the ARA Theranostics Center is the only facility offering this treatment in central Texas.
(Trevor Scott) Wow, that is incredible news. We love to hear about these advancements. So how does Pluvicto work, and what does set it apart from other treatments?
(Dr. Spiridonov) Well, the innovation in Pluvicto and other medicines like it is that it harnesses the cancer-fighting ability of radiation therapy but delivers it at the cellular level where the effect is limited to the cancer cells and not the surrounding healthy tissues. Pluvicto is also able to limit its effects to cancer cells because it is strongly attracted to a protein in prostate cancer cells called Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen, or PSMA for short.
PSMA is present in large amounts on prostate cancer cells but is not found in significant quantities on non-prostate cancer cells. So when Pluvicto is infused into the bloodstream through a simple IV, it’ll search out and attach itself to the PSMA of prostate cancer cells everywhere they’re present in the body.
After attaching itself to the cancer cells, Pluvicto delivers a small amount of radiation to those cells, thereby eliminating them.
(Trevor Scott) Wow, that is fascinating. The science is incredible. How do patients respond to this treatment? Is it effective?
(Dr. Spiridonov) Yes, it is an effective treatment.
Clinical trials with men at a very advanced stage of prostate cancer have shown Pluvicto to be very effective, improving their symptoms and quality of life. We have actually seen this with a patient we recently started treating. Even after one infusion, he saw a decrease in bone pain.
Here’s a slide that shows the amount of metastasized cancer in a test subject’s body before the treatment. And after four cycles of treatment. You can see a drastically reduced amount of disease represented by the red spots all over the body on the left. And they’re nearly nonexistent on the right.
The treatment has also been proven to extend life expectancy, both progression-free survival and overall survival. So this is very good news for this group of patients.
(Trevor Scott) Amazing, that is great news, Doctor.
Is this treatment available or appropriate for all men with prostate cancer?
(Dr. Spiridonov) Pluvicto is currently approved by the FDA for men with advanced metastatic prostate cancer whose disease has progressed despite having received traditional therapies such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and androgen deprivation therapy. This treatment essentially offers another chance to men who have exhausted conventional treatment options. But that being said, we expect indications to expand quickly to men with earlier stages of the disease as well.
(Trevor Scott) Wow, that is great news. So how about insurance, is Pluvicto covered?
(Dr. Spiridonov) Well, because this is such a new treatment, coverage is changing rapidly and expanding rapidly. So we would encourage patients to call ARA with any questions regarding coverage.
(Trevor Scott) Great to know. And earlier, we mentioned the ARA Theranostics Center, is this new for ARA?
(Dr. Spiridonov) Yes, it’s a new center in our Midtown location that we build to safely and comfortably administer these medicines. Our patients are treated in private suites with access to TV, wifi, and snacks. Our theranostics team is headed by six physicians who have specialized in molecular radiology with a focus on therapy, such as Pluvicto. Our staff also includes specially trained technologists and medics who know how to safely image and treat patients with these medicines.
(Trevor Scott) Very cool. This sounds so exciting, especially for an experience that could be considered overwhelming. What a great thing for patients and their families.
So what should patients and their families do who might wanna know a little bit more about prostate treatment at ARA with Pluvicto?
(Dr. Spiridonov) Well, every patient is different, and we strongly encourage patients to discuss Pluvicto with their primary cancer care provider and to reach out to us at ARA.
(Trevor Scott) Very cool.
Dr. Spiridonov, thank you for joining us today. This was a fascinating chat. I always enjoy learning about the innovations that are so consistently happening at ARA Diagnostic Imaging. And this sounds like this will absolutely save lives and provide great treatment for those facing prostate cancer.
Thanks so much for joining us today.
(Dr. Spiridonov) It’s a pleasure to be on, thank you for having me.