Tulane Cancer Center (TCC) is seeking patients to participate in a clinical trial of a new drug to treat late-stage prostate cancer. TCC is the first location in the United States to take part in this trial using the drug Alpharadin on patients with prostate cancer that has spread to the bones. A few patients were treated with Alpharadin in an earlier trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Alpharadin is an injectable drug that is based on the radioactive substance Radium-223, an alpha-particle-emitting pharmaceutical.

  Dr. Oliver Sartor, a prostate cancer expert whose patients come from all over the United States, will head the trial, which will be conducted at 100 sites in 20 countries worldwide.

  Sartor, Piltz Professor of cancer research in the departments of medicine and urology at Tulane University School of Medicine, says researchers believe Alpharadin destroys cancer cells in the bone without harming healthy bone marrow tissue. If the trials are successful, he says, the new treatment could increase the survival rate for men whose prostate cancer no longer responds to hormone therapy. If left untreated, men with prostate cancer that has spread to the bones live approximately 12 to 18 months, according to the American Cancer Society.

  Doctors and patients interested in the trial can call 988-7869 or email osartor@tulane.edu. The trial is sponsored by the Norwegian cancer therapeutics company Algeta and the German pharmaceutical company Bayer Schering Pharma. — Graves