Hampton VA Medical Center
Hampton First in VISN to Use New Cancer Treatment
Hampton VA Medical Center (VAMC) became the first medical center in VISN 6 to use a newly-approved medical treatment for bone cancer and pain caused by prostate cancer. Xofigo was introduced at Hampton VAMC by Dr. Tapan K. Chaudhuri, clinical director of Nuclear Medicine at Hampton VAMC in collaboration with staff members Michael T. Hopkins, M.D., medical oncologist and certified Nuclear Medicine technologists Sherry Dunn and Javanika Shah.
Xofigo is a radiation treatment that targets the tumors in bone. Xofigo (or radium Ra 223 dichloride) was approved by the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) in May 2013 based on the results of a study of 809 men with advanced prostate cancer. “Xofigo binds with minerals in the bone to deliver radiation directly to bone tumors, limiting the damage to the surrounding normal tissues,” said Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
“This new agent has less marrow toxicity than older agents as it is an alpha emitter. It is better tolerated in our Veteran patients and adds a new treatment for this common malignancy,” said Chaudhuri.
The news of an effective treatment is especially welcome because according to the National Cancer Institute more than 238,000 U.S. men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and 29,720 will die from the disease. Xofigo is the first of its kind in VISN 6, for the treatment of bone pain as well as to prolong overall survival in Veterans who have prostate cancer that has spread to bone.
According to Chaudhuri, Xofigo is administered intravenously and works by targeting bone metastases - or the spread of cancer to the bone, by using alpha radiation to kill cancer cells, relieve bone pain, and minimize injury to surrounding normal tissue. Bone metastases resulting from prostate cancer is a major cause of death, disability, and decreased quality of life.
Xofigo has been shown to reduce the death in patients with bone metastases by 30 percent, extended the average survival of those affected by more than three months, and has shown a six month delay in painful bone lesions and a 10 month delay in any bone events (such as fractures and other tumors).
Chaudhuri states that the introduction of Xofigo is “one small step for Hampton VAMC and a giant leap for our Veterans”.