AGAT Foundation

PSMA PET

Dr. Denise Chan and Dr. Steven Yip receive a $350,000 cheque from the AGAT Foundation for the first PSMA PET CT Diagnostic Device in Calgary and explain why this is necessary and its importance to Albertans.

In Canada, PSMA PET/CT is not yet Health Canada approved and is therefore only available through research studies. Currently, there are several cities across Canada offering PSMA PET/CT imaging however it is not currently available in Alberta. Patients must travel outside of Alberta in order to access this test at their own expense.

The AGAT Foundation is proud to be apart of the initiative to bring the Cyclotron to Calgary. This cyclotron and new radiopharmaceutical facility will be coming to Calgary to improve access to diagnostic tests and treatment for cancer, cardiac and neurological conditions.

The new cyclotron and radiopharmaceutical facility will allow Calgary to produce its own consistent supply of radiopharmaceuticals – a special class of drugs that can help diagnose and treat many types of cancers, bone disease, strokes, epilepsy or dementia.

You can read more about this exciting new initiative here.

PSMA PEt

This initiative by the AGAT Foundation will help Alberta’s medical researchers advance PSMA-PET technology in our province. The AGAT Foundation is proud to continue working collaboratively with the Calgary Prostate Centre, the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and the University of Calgary towards improving the quality of life for all Albertans.

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer to affect Canadian men with 1 in 9 men to be diagnosed in their lifetime. There have been many recent advances in the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer. One recent breakthrough involves a new diagnostic imaging technique used to detect the spread of cancer earlier than current conventional imaging techniques. This exciting advancement is PSMA PET/CT Imaging. Since its introduction, its use has been growing exponentially worldwide, even becoming standard of care in Australia.

PSMA PET/CT involves injecting a radioactive substance that binds to Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen or PSMA. PSMA is a membrane bound glycoprotein expressed in prostate tissues but with higher expression in prostate cancer cells. The PSMA PET/CT tracer is used to detect prostate cancer that has spread in the body by binding to PSMA. While the conventional imaging modalities computed tomography (CT scans), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and bone scans play an important role in staging patients with prostate cancer, these imaging techniques still have their limitations in detecting disease. Studies have shown that PSMA PET/CT is able to detect disease, which is not identified by other conventional imaging modalities, thereby changing patient care. In particular, PET/CT PSMA will be useful in high-risk patients with suspected prostate cancer metastasis who are potentially curable by surgery or radiation, and patients with suspected prostate cancer recurrence based on elevated prostate –specific antigen (PSA) where the disease spread is to not readily identified on conventional imaging.

Additionally, PET PSMA is required to assess whether patients would be amenable to treatment with a promising new therapy Lutetium-177 PSMA. Lutetium-177 PSMA therapy involves using targeted beta emitting radiopharmaceutical to deliver radioactivity to kill cancer cells.

In Canada, PSMA PET/CT is not yet Health Canada approved and is therefore only available through research studies. Currently, there are several cities across Canada offering PSMA PET/CT imaging however it is not currently available in Alberta. Patients must travel outside of Alberta in order to access this test at their own expense.

There have been efforts to bring PSMA PET/CT imaging to the patients of Alberta through partnerships with Edmonton. Chemist Dr. Frank Wuest and his team associated with the Edmonton Cyclotron in Edmonton have recently developed a PSMA radiopharmaceutical [18F]PSMA-1007 which will soon be ready for clinical trial use in Alberta, pending Health Canada approval.  In Calgary, we are developing a clinical research program offering PSMA PET/CT to patients with the goal to evaluate the efficacy of PSMA PET/CT in the management of prostate cancer. We hope to be able to offer PSMA PET/CT imaging to patients in Calgary by the end of 2021.

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