Radium-223 therapy

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What is it for?

To treat bone metastases

Treatment overview

When the bone is damaged, the body naturally begins to repair the affected area. Calcium is a key nutrient in bone redevelopment, and as the bone begins to repair, the affected area absorbs the vast majority of calcium in the blood.

Secondary bone metastases, much like a healing bone, will absorb a large amount of calcium as the cancerous cells divide uncontrollably.

Radionuclide therapy uses the fact that secondary bone metastases absorb vast amounts of calcium to its advantage. A radioactive substance (radioisotope) is injected that, when in the body, behaves much like calcium.

This radioisotope will be absorbed by areas of bone where there is a high metabolic rate, i.e. where cells are rapidly dividing. In the case where secondary bone metastases have developed, the cancerous cells absorb the radioisotope.

They will then deliver a highly localised radiation dose directly to the affected area while avoiding other areas of healthy bone. Due to the nature of the absorption, the radioisotope is able to treat multiple sites of secondary bone metastases simultaneously.

The radiation damages the secondary bone metastases and provides relief from pain. The period of pain relief can be varied depending on the radioisotope used. The two radioisotopes commonly used are strontium and samarium.

Both radioisotopes may be used where the primary cancer is either prostate or breast.

While strontium provides long-term pain relief, it can take several weeks for the patient to respond. Samarium meanwhile has a quick response but will not provide the longevity that strontium does.

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New developments with Radium-223 Dichloride (previously known as Alpharadin)

Radium-223 Dichloride is a new development that, like with strontium and samarium, targets the bone metastases. It kills the tumour cells by highly localized short-range radiation, while minimising damage to surrounding healthy cells and bone marrow. Recent trials indicate that it contributes to the overall survival of patients. Radium-223 Dichloride is only suitable where the primary cancer is prostate.

The treatment will be carried out as an out-patient in The London Clinic’s Nuclear Medicine department. The treatment is carried out by an experienced nuclear medicine clinician and a medical physicist is present to give radiation protection advice both during the treatment and following the procedure.

Due to the short-range of the radiation, precautions required following the treatment are minimal. A medical physicist can discuss typical precautions prior to treatment.

Why choose The London Clinic

Excellence in one place

We operate as teams of experts with world-class resources dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of medical care. You are surrounded by the latest treatments and advice with everything you need to get back to your best health.

Personal care, every time

Exceptional patient care is a way of life for us. Our nurses, clinicians and support teams are dedicated to the care of a very small number of patients, so have more time for you. They’ll be with you every step of the way, tailoring your care around you and giving the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing you’re in the best hands.

Effortlessly simple

We work together as one to guide you through each step of your experience, with complexities unravelled and answers readily to hand. Your personal treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.

What's included in your package?

Choosing The London Clinic means your treatment plan will be laid out for you, with all the details taken care of so you can focus on you.


Your treatment package will include:

  • Enhanced pre-admission assessment
  • Your treatment with our complete care team at your fingertips
  • Personalised aftercare and follow-up

We want you to be in control of your health. That’s why we also offer optional services such as comprehensive recovery packages and extra touches for you to choose from during your stay with us.

How to pay

  • You can use private medical insurance (PMI) to access this treatment. We work with all major PMI providers in the UK and many internationally
  • You can pay for yourself (self-pay)
  • If you’re paying for yourself, we have finance options available with Chrysalis

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