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Targeted radiopharmaceuticals offer new hope for longer healthspans

Mark Crockett, MD Mar 15, 2024

Americans today can expect to live long lives. However, increased longevity has brought on a troubling rise in chronic disease, diminishing the quality of life later in life. A 2018 study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than a quarter of U.S. adults now battle multiple chronic conditions, up from 22% in 2001. We may be living longer, but more Americans struggle through these extra years in poor health — presenting a pressing need to extend not just lifespans but “healthspans.”

An emerging field of precision radiopharmaceuticals brings new optimism to this mission, revolutionizing cancer care. Precision radiopharmaceuticals accurately target tumors while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. For example, utilizing lutetium-177 (Lu-177), a radioisotope that emits beta particles and gamma rays, is useful for targeted radionuclide therapy in cancer treatment. Such minimally invasive and targeted therapies help patients recover faster with improved quality of life. When doctors take a look at the whole patient, there are more opportunities to extend a patient's healthy living years. Rather than merely extending lifespans, precision radiopharmaceuticals promise longer, better lives by protecting the quality of those years.


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