UCLA, UCSF receive FDA approval for PSMA PET imaging in males with prostate most cancers
The University of California’s two nationally recognized medical centers, UCSF and UCLA, and their nuclear medicine teams have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to offer a new imaging technique for prostate cancer that targets cancerous lesions in the pelvic area and other parts of China the body into which the tumors migrated can be located.
Known as Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen PET Imaging, or PSMA-PET, the technique uses positron emission tomography in conjunction with a PET-sensitive drug that is highly effective in detecting prostate cancer throughout the body so that it can be better and more selectively treated. The PSMA PET scan also identifies cancer, which is often overlooked by current standard imaging techniques.
UCLA and UCSF researchers examined PSMA-PET to provide a more effective imaging test for men with prostate cancer. Because the PSMA PET scan has been shown to be more effective at locating these tumors, it should become the new standard for treating men with prostate cancer to first stage them or locate a recurrence. “
Dr. Jeremie Calais, Assistant Professor at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine
A clinical study by the UCSF and UCLA research teams on the effectiveness of PSMA-PET was found to be crucial in gaining FDA approval for the technology at both universities. The PSMA drug used in this technique was developed outside of the United States by Heidelberg University.
“It is rare for academic institutions to receive FDA approval of a drug, and this unique collaboration resulted in one of the first joint approvals of a drug at two institutions,” said Dr. Thomas Hope, Associate Professor at UCSF. “We hope this first step will lead to wider availability of this imaging test for men with prostate cancer across the country.”
How it works
For men who were initially diagnosed with prostate cancer or who have previously been treated but who have had a relapse, a critical first step is understanding the extent of the cancer. Doctors use medical imaging to pinpoint cancer cells so they can be treated.
PSMA-PET uses a radioactive tracer drug called 68Ga-PSMA-11 that is injected into the body and binds to proteins known as prostate-specific membrane antigens. Since prostate cancer tumors overexpress these proteins on their surface, doctors can use the tracer to pinpoint their location.
The current standard of care in prostate imaging is a technique called fluciclovine PET, in which patients are injected with fluciclovine, a synthetic radioactive amino acid. Because prostate cancer uses more amino acids than normal prostate cells, the tumors accumulate large amounts of the synthetic tracer, making them easier to spot on scans.
In their study comparing PSMA-PET and fluciclovin-PET, the UCLA and UCSF research teams found that imaging with PSMA-PET was found in men who had undergone radical prostatectomy but who had recurrence of their cancer was, significantly more prostate lesions than fluciclovin-PET could detect. Their results suggest that PSMA-PET should be considered both prior to initial treatment in men with high-risk cancer and when cancer recurs after surgery or radiation for more accurate care. The PSMA tracer can also be used in conjunction with CT or MRI scans.
UCSF and UCLA are the only two medical centers in the US that can offer PSMA-PET to the public through this FDA approval. A limited number of other US medical centers are currently using PSMA as an examination technique, generally as part of a clinical trial. However, additional hospitals will have the option to adopt the technology after applying for accelerated FDA approval, which is now possible with the first FDA approval from UCLA and UCSF.
“I believe PSMA-PET imaging is a change in men with prostate cancer as its use will result in better, more efficient and more precise care,” said Dr. Peter Carroll, professor at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. More than 190,000 newly diagnosed cases are expected this year alone,” said Dr. Johannes Czernin, head of the Ahmanson Translational Theranostics Division at UCLA. “So this great effort between the nuclear medicine departments at UCLA and UCSF and our many partners has been important and will greatly improve the way this cancer is identified and treated.”
The UCLA research team was led by the nuclear medicine faculty of the Ahmanson Translational Theranostics Division of the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology. They worked in collaboration with the Urology, Radiation Oncology, and Radiology Departments and with support from the Geffen School of Medicine, the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
The UCSF research team was led by a faculty from the Department of Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics of the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, which worked in collaboration with the Departments of Urology, Radiation Oncology, and Medical Oncology. Support was provided by the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and a philanthropic gift to the UCSF Department of Urology and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
“Game Changer is almost an understatement about how this technology can improve patient care with prostate cancer,” said Dr. Jonathan W. Simons, CEO of the Prostate Cancer Foundation. “Having invested more than $ 26 million in PSMA research over many years, we are honored to congratulate the UCSF and UCLA research teams on their milestone.”
When David McEowen discovered that he had prostate cancer again, his doctors used PSMA-PET as part of his treatment plan. Today he is cancer free.
University of California-Los Angeles Health Sciences