On November 28, 2019, the first Alpha DaRT procedure was performed in Russia, at the A. Tsyb Medical Radiological Research Center in Obninsk, in a patient diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Radiation Oncologist Dr. Razvan Galalae from Essen, Germany, performed the treatment with the support of Prof. Yona Keisari, Chief Scientific Officer of Alpha Tau and a co-inventor of Alpha DaRT. This patient is the first in a clinical trial of Alpha DaRT just initiated in Obninsk.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Russia, and is usually treated with beta or gamma radiation. Nonetheless, metastatic breast cancer is almost always fatal. Russian oncology team members who participated in the Alpha DaRT trial feel that this new technique, with its innovative mechanism of action, may provide hope to those whose survival chances were dim.
Alpha particles are more aggressive than other forms of radiation, but don’t penetrate very far. Specialized applicators must be used to deliver a unique radioactive material, Radium-224, coated on seeds, and this requires training from Dr. Galalae and Alpha Tau staff. The radium does not enter the tumor itself, but rather emits radioactive atoms which diffuse through the tumor releasing alpha radiation localized to the tumor itself, not the surrounding tissue. The medical personnel at the Tsyb Research Center expressed excitement about the arrival of the Alpha DaRT to Russia for the first time, and predict that the procedure will soon become widespread in clinical practice.