Dr. Simon Trubek Explains the Significance of Nuclear Medicine


Anchor: Welcome back to We Are Austin. For this edition of Medical Monday, we are talking about men’s health and prostate cancer. Specifically, Dr. Simon Trubek with ARA Diagnostic Imaging shares the latest information about nuclear medicine, which you may have heard of, and how it’s used for early detection which is super important. Good morning, it’s great to see you.

Dr. Trubek: Good morning. Thanks for having me back.

Anchor: Oh it’s my pleasure. I think this is very, very important to talk about. So right off the bat, let’s kind of explain what is nuclear medicine because our viewers may have heard this term.

Dr. Trubek: Sure. Nuclear medicine is just another type of imaging that we perform at ARA, and unlike CAT scan, or ultrasound, or MRI, the big difference is that we actually inject the radiotracer into the patient or have them swallow it or breathe it, depending on how we want to study the patients and which organ we want to study. And then, we put the patient in the machine and the x-rays that come out of this radiotracer, we capture and we can talk about the anatomy of the organ, and, more importantly, how it functions.

Anchor: Oh wow, that’s fascinating. You touched on it a little bit there; you inject or place. So how exactly does the process work so everyone at home kind of has an idea?

Dr. Trubek: Sure. So, PET/CT is one of the different types of nuclear medicines, kind of the subset. So, with PET/CT, we actually inject the radiopharmaceutical into the patient’s vein.

Anchor: Okay.

Dr. Trubek: Then we wait a little bit, and then we put the patient into a machine, and it looks like a CAT scan machine like any other machine. They spend some time in that machine depending on what we’re doing and what we’re studying, probably 30 minutes, and then it’s done and this is what it looks like.

Anchor: Wow, so this is kind of an idea of what the patient can expect?

Dr. Trubek: Yeah. The difference is on the inside and how this study is performed.

Anchor: That’s fascinating, and really as we spoke about, it’s new technology that’s being developed all the time but there’s a really cutting-edge process that’s out right now, correct?

Dr. Trubek: Right, and this radiotracer is called Axumin. This radiopharmaceutical identifies prostate cancer specifically. So, wherever it may be, we inject it in the vein and it finds those small cells or potential very early recurrence. What we look for with this very early on so we can intervene.

Anchor: So, this is kind of how that works, right?

Dr. Trubek: Right. So, this is a general view and you can see for instance this area just literally lights up.

Anchor: It’s lit up, that’s fascinating.

Dr. Trubek: Yeah, so we’re looking for early recurrence so we can intervene and really improve the life, and life expectancy, and life quality of a patient, we find it much earlier. Here’s a good example.

Anchor: This is fascinating to me.

Dr. Trubek: Yeah, this is fantastic. So here is where the cancer is, right there, and it’s really hard to identify.

Anchor: Very difficult to see, yeah.

Dr. Trubek: But with this new tracer, it just literally lights up.

Anchor: It’s lit up, it’s like a beacon, it’s like here it is.

Dr. Trubek: Right.

Anchor: That’s what’s really important because we’re talking about early detection and how does that help the patient? Obviously, in terms of treatment…

Dr. Trubek: In terms of treatment and life experiences, it’s fantastic.

Anchor: Yeah.

Dr. Trubek: So, when we identify a recurrence very early on, we can target that recurrence and get rid of the disease early on instead of having to wait to identify and document that recurrence and subject the patient to really rigorous, and you know, significant types of treatment.

Anchor: That’s really amazing. This is cutting-edge stuff here and you’re doing this currently at ARA Diagnostic Imaging.

Dr. Trubek: Right, correct.

Anchor: If people want to know a little bit more about this—it probably sounds like something that you, especially right now as we’re talking about men’s health, specifically prostate cancer—if this sounds like something you or somebody you know or love in your family should take advantage of, ARA has 17 locations throughout Central Texas. Very likely, somebody’s very close to you, right?

Dr. Trubek: Right, absolutely.

Anchor: You can go to ausrad.com to get a little bit more information. I think that’s important stuff. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

Dr. Trubek: Thanks for having us.

Anchor: Take advice from ARA – early detection is what saves lives.

Dr. Trubek: Thank you.

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