Theranostics is the name given to a branch of nuclear medicine used to treat various cancers. The term itself is a combination of the terms 'therapy' and 'diagnostics'. This method of cancer therapy acts like a Trojan horse, where cancer cells invite a destructive compound into their cell membrane causing internal destruction of the cell.

Image Modality Nuclear3

The theranostics process involves two stages where the same targeting drug is used, however the radioactive substance is different for each:

Stage 1 – Diagnostic imaging stage

Firstly, in the diagnostic imaging stage, a diagnostic radiation (usually Ga-68) is coupled to the targeting compound. Once injected, this compound is quickly extracted from the blood stream where it is retained by the target cells. At this point a PET scan is performed to visualise and measure how much of the radioactive substance has been taken up by affected cells.

Stage 2 – Therapeutic stage

Providing that suitable uptake was demonstrated in Stage 1, we would progress to the therapeutic stage. In this stage, the same targeting compound is used, however the diagnostic radioactive substance is replaced with a therapeutic radioactive substance (usually Lu-177). Once injected, the compound will quickly be extracted from the bloodstream by the same target cells identified in Stage 1. Although, this time the high energy particles released from the therapeutic radioactive substance will cause destruction of the cell. The particles only travel a matter of millimetres from the cell making it highly targeted and reducing damage to nearby healthy cells.

Technology and team

The technology behind theranostics has been around for some time, however in the recent past there has been a rapid increase in the research associated with its various applications. At Queensland X-Ray, the service is delivered by a specialist nuclear medicine physician or specialist radiologist, with assistance from a highly skilled team of nuclear medicine technologists, nurses and clerical staff.

How much will it cost?

Fees for radiology procedures will vary depending on a variety of factors. We will advise you about the cost of your service at the time of booking but if you do have any questions, contact us and one of our team will be happy to help with your query. You can read more about our billing information here.

How do I access my images?

At Queensland X-Ray, we provide our patients with their images and results online. To access your images and results, you’ll need to register for an account when you visit one of our practices. If you’ve already registered, you can access the Patient Portal here.

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