Prostate Cancer Drug Protects Bone Health, Boosts Survival
A new drug promises to improve prostate cancer survival as well as limit the impact of cancer on bone health. According to MedPage Today, Radium-223 chloride, also known as Alpharadin, cut the risk of pathologic bone fracture and spinal cord compression in patients by half.
Alpharadin works by emitting radiation that targets bone metastasis, which reduces the need for external radiation by a third. It also boosts overall survival by 30 percent, or nearly three months, researchers at Tulane University in New Orleans found.
“We believe this novel alpha-pharmaceutical—the very first one to be tested in all of medicine—may provide a new standard of care for the treatment of patients with bone metastases in advanced prostate cancer,” said study leader A. Oliver Sartor.
After injection, Alpharadin essentially works like calcium. It travels to areas of bone stroma that have been damaged by cancer and then works to repair bone tissue. The radiation targets the bone without damaging normal tissue, MedPage Today noted.
The positive results have led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to fast track the drug for approval. With this form of review, no additional tests are needed. A trial involving 922 men with castration-resistant prostate cancer provided enough data for approval.
Researchers found that patients taking Alpharadin experienced a 55 percent relative reduction in pathologic bone fracture, a 56 percent reduction in spinal cord compression and a 35 percent reduction in external beam radiation.
No serious side effects have been observed in connection with the drug.