The PSMA tracers that bind to the PSMA receptors of prostate cancer cells are labeled radioactive isotopes, with examples such as Gallium-68 or Fluor-18. Nuclear Medicine physicians use these radioactive tracers to detect prostate cancer lesions with PET-CT scans. However, it is also possible to label another category of radioactive radionuclides. There are beta emitters (e.g. Lutetium-177
) and alpha emitters (e.g. Actinium-225
). Both types of radioactivity induce DNA damage resulting in cell death of irradiated tumors
If these beta or alpha emitters are labeled with PSMA that bind to the PSMA receptor on prostate cancer cells, prostate tumors can be irradiated from the inside. This process is called PSMA therapy. A patient usually receives multiple injections of PSMA therapy, at a minimum of 4 weeks in between each injection.