A new Israeli startup called AlphaTAU (Alpha Tel Aviv University) for using alpha radiation against cancerous tumors shows 70% success for destroying solid cancerous tumors. This new technology called Diffusing Alpha-Emitters Radiation Therapy (Alpha DaRT) was patented in 2003 by Prof. Yona Keisari and Prof. Yitzchak Kelson together with Tel Aviv University. Prof. Kelson was the inventor of the technique. According to Uzi Sofer the CEO of AlphaTAU, this Alpha DaRT therapy can treat any kind of solid tumor.
Alpha DaRT Destroys Solid Cancerous Tumors without Harming Surrounding Healthy Tissue
The Alpha DaRT treatment can destroy both strands of a solid tumor’s DNA. Alpha radiation had been unsuitable as it can only cover a very minute area. However, the scientists use a particular isotope of radium to deliver the alpha radiation, which can successfully abolish a solid tumor without destroying healthy tissue that surrounds it. By not destroying healthy tissue that surrounds a tumor, the immune system is motivated to recognize and attack similar types of metastases tumors in other places in the body. It is the metastases tumors that are the cause of death in 85% of cancer patients, according to Prof. Yona Kesari. So this is a unique kind of radiation treatment, as it stimulates a kind of immunotherapy response in the body to similar metastasized tumors. In addition, research has not shown systemic side effects like some of the other kinds of cancer treatments. Radium-224 has a very short half-life (3.7 days), so Alpha DaRT can achieve fast clinical results within just a few days.
Patients who had only a Few Weeks to Live Have been Cured of their Solid Cancerous Tumors
According to the researchers, many patients who had been given just a few weeks to live were found cancer free 60 days after Alpha DaRT treatment. The treatment is usually given under a local anesthetic and involves injecting the tumor with the Alpha DaRT treatment. As the Alpha DaRT decays it destroys the DNA in the tumor, which leads to the death of the tumor. The researchers hope that DaRT treatment will also be able to cure some of the most difficult cancers to treat like pancreatic cancer whereby most patients die within five years of diagnosis.
There are ongoing clinical trials as well as new ones that have been scheduled to begin in 2019.
Ongoing Clinical Trials for Specific Types of Cancer
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Following thousands of animal trials with Alpha DaRT, human clinical trials have begun in Israel and Italy for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which is a type of skin and mouth cancer.
Congenital Melanocytic Nevus (CMN)
In Israel, Italy, New York and Montreal the Alpha DaRT therapy is taking place in human clinical trials for congenital melanocytic nevus (CMN) cancer.
New Clinical Trials to Begin in 2019
New clinical trials in 2019 will take place in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Israel
Congenital Melanocytic Nevus (CMN)
Pancreatic and Prostate Cancer
Additional Trials to begin in the Future for more than 20 other Types of Cancers
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) estimates that in 2019, 1,735,350 new cancer cases will be diagnosed and 609,640 people will die from cancer in the United States. More men than women die from cancer. Afro American men have the highest death rate from cancer and Asian/Pacific Islander women have the lowest rate of cancer. In 2016 there were about 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States and by 2026 there will be 20.3 million cancer survivors. The NCI reports that in 2012 there were 13.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million deaths worldwide.
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We can only hope that the results of these clinical trials with Alpha DaRT therapy will save millions of lives from the scourge of cancer.