Radioligand therapy is receiving more and more attention, especially in the world of cancer.
Because the treatment is so targeted, it can destroy cancer cells and at the same time limit potential side effects. From a patient perspective, effective treatment and acceptable side effects are keys to living with cancer and to a good quality of life.
Radioligand therapy has huge potential: the targeting molecules involved open the way to personalised care, and the advent and availability of new and effective short-lived radioisotopes open new vistas in cancer treatment.
But this can only be fully realised through continued research. Today’s evidence is incomplete and insufficient to bring radioligand therapy into guidelines, except for neuroendocrine cancers. For other cancers a lot of research needs to be done before this treatment can be made available and become a valid option for patients.
Introduction of radioligand therapy into care also requires careful planning, as the therapy may fall under different regulatory systems because it uses nuclear material. The therapy also requires multidisciplinary collaboration between specialties. Before we can make the therapy available to patients, hurdles should be identified and preferably taken care of.
To make this happen, research initiatives into radioligand therapy are essential. Too many people with cancer die due to lack of adequate treatment options. Research to further understand and overcome barriers to the use of innovative therapies like radioligand therapy is essential to improve outcomes – and patient organisations can be involved in supporting this.
Radioligand therapy is a fascinating treatment option, but it will require a continued effort in research and in societal adaptation to make its use smooth and safe for the patients in need.
Dr Erik Briers, Vice president of Europa Uomo