News / South Africa / Local News

Felicia Nkhwashu
2 minute read
4 Mar 2018
2:57 pm

University of Pretoria in cancer therapy breakthrough

Felicia Nkhwashu

They are the only platform in Africa, and one of only three in the world, to offer this treatment.

Front row: CEO of Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH), Dr Mathabo Mathebula, HOD of nuclear medicine at UP and SBAH, Professor Mike Sathekge, health minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, UP Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephanie Burton and director of JRC professor Maria Betti. Back row: EU trade and economics, Natalija Dolya, Project leader of the alpha therapy at EU-JRC, Professor Alfred Morgenstern, UP dean Professor Tiaan De Jager, EU deputy head of Delegation, Raul De Luzenberger, CEO of Siemens South

A potential breakthrough in the treatment of cancer is on the cards, following a collaborative effort between two research bodies, Pretoria Rekord East reports.

The department of nuclear medicine at University of Pretoria and the European Commission’s science and knowledge’s, joint research centre (JRC) used targeted alpha therapy (TAT) to treat advanced-stage prostate cancer with promising results.

READ MORE: Cancer blood test finds eight kinds of tumors: study

“Were it not for this collaboration, the department would not have been able to treat its patients with this form of therapy. TAT has proved to be very successful, with an 85% success rate,” said professor Mike Sathekge, head of nuclear medicine.

TAT is expensive and there are strict international security standards regarding nuclear safety. The two centres are the only ones in Africa, and of only three in the world, to offer this treatment.

The Steve Biko Academic Hospital is the site for the treatment in South Africa.

At a recent event at the hospital, director of JRC, professor Maria Betti, extended an invitation for more collaboration with Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who was amazed at the success of the treatment and expressed a desire to include the nuclear medicine department in the country’s cancer therapy strategy.

Sathekge said he hoped the success would raise the awareness of the benefits of nuclear medicine for cancer treatment, which would hopefully lead to large-scale trials.

He said due to recent breakthroughs in prostate cancer therapy, people were starting to realise the importance of this treatment, and nuclear medicine and radionuclide therapy were becoming more of a focus point in the curriculum.

“The collaboration with the JRC is of utmost importance and has enabled the department to make life-changing contributions to patients with advanced cancer.”

Cancer blood test finds eight kinds of tumors: study

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