Biomedical companies are injecting innovation into one of the oldest cancer treatments.
Physicians have treated cancer with radiation for more than a century, usually by shining an external beam through the skin at tumors in a specific location.
Emerging medicines called radiopharmaceuticals, by contrast, are designed to travel through the blood and deliver radiation to tumors, potentially offering a new way to treat metastatic disease, which causes most cancer deaths.
Radiopharmaceuticals are still a niche form of cancer therapy. But recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals of new treatments, plus promising data from some experimental medicines, are spurring venture-capital investment in new companies and prompting drugmakers to acquire radiopharmaceutical startups.
“Now companies see a path forward and they’re willing to invest,” said Dr. Charles Kunos, a professor of radiation medicine at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.