Treatments and Technology

Radio Isotope Injections


Overview


 Systemic Radiation

Therapy Using radioactive isotopes to treat certain cancers is called systemic radiation therapy. The radioactive isotopes may be swallowed, given intravenously or injected into the body. For example, radioactive iodine (I-131) capsules are given to patients to treat some types of thyroid cancer. Another example is the use of intravenous radioactive samarium or strontium to treat pain due to cancer that has spread to the bone.

Radioimmunotherapy

Recent research has focused on the use of radioactive monoclonal antibodies, also called radiolabeled antibodies, to deliver doses of radiation directly to a tumor. This process is known as radioimmunotherapy. Antibodies are made by the body in response to the presence of antigens (substances recognized as foreign by the immune system). Large quantities of particular types of antibodies, called monoclonal antibodies, can be made in the laboratory. These monoclonal antibodies can be attached to radioactive isotopes in a process called radiolabeling. When injected into the body, the radiolabled antibodies circulate in the bloodstream until they locate and bind to the surface of cancer cells. The cancer cells are then destroyed by the radiation carried in the antibody.

 

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