Until recently, many men with advanced prostate cancer were left with few treatment options, and a survival prognosis of only a few years. In Connecticut, these patients may now access a promising new therapy only at Hartford Hospital – Pluvicto.
The new drug was recently approved by the FDA for treating advanced prostate cancer, especially in patients whose cancer is resistant to conventional hormonal and chemotherapy. In a clinical trial, it showed significant results for both stopping the spread of disease and improving the survival of patients.
Hartford Hospital is currently the first and only clinical site in Connecticut to offer it.
“We are so excited to be at the vanguard of this new therapy,” said Andrew Salner, MD, medical director of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute and co-director of the Theranostics program. “It offers new hope for our patients and families.”
Theranostics target cancer and spare healthy cells.
Pluvicto is part of a growing category of drugs called theranostics, powerful tools for diagnosing and treating certain types of tumors.
Pluvicto contains two components: one that binds to a specific part of the prostate cancer cell, and another that emits a targeted dose of radiation to destroy it. The drug is designed for patients whose cells carry a unique marker known as the prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA), determined by a specialized PET imaging scan.
“The use of precision medicine in oncology, where a much more personalized and targeted approach to diagnosis and treatment is applied, is the future of cancer care,” says Dr. Salner. “These new, highly localized drugs lead to better outcomes with fewer side effects.”
Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute is a leader in precision medicine, with one of New England’s largest programs for adult patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors, and an entire program devoted to theranostics. In 2018, it became one of the earliest providers in Connecticut to offer the theranostic drug Lutathera™ for neuroendocrine tumors (also known as carcinoid tumors) of the pancreas and gastrointestinal tract.
And that’s just the beginning.
“The use of targeted radiation isotopes is part of a much larger precision oncology program at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute,” says Dr. Salner. That includes highly targeted external beam radiation therapy, targeted molecular and immunotherapy drugs, and highly precise targeted surgical techniques.
In Connecticut, precision medicine offers hope for patients with advanced prostate cancer.
“The FDA’s approval of Pluvicto is a breakthrough for prostate cancer care,” says Dr. Salner. “Hartford HealthCare is well positioned at the forefront, as a major provider of prostate cancer care in New England, and given the excellence of our Tallwood Urology colleagues, our nuclear medicine and imaging team, and our Cancer Institute staff.”
In addition to being the first in the state to offer Pluvicto for FDA-approved usage, Hartford Hospital has been selected to study the drug in patients with earlier stages of disease. That research study will begin soon.
Meanwhile, patients with advanced prostate cancer have already been receiving the drug at the Helen & Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital for several weeks.
It’s a milestone moment for healthcare in Connecticut, and a hopeful one for patients and families.
Pluvicto has been approved for the treatment of progressive, prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-positive, metastatic, castration-resistant prostate cancer (PSMA+ mCRPC). It is administered by intravenous infusion every six weeks, for a total of six treatments.
To learn more, or to find out if you’re a candidate, call 860.972.2803.