TIMOTHY KORYTKO MD
Agnesian HealthCare continues to chart the course for new, innovative cancer treatments.
Among its most significant development to date, Agnesian Cancer Care professionals were the first to pilot new radiation treatment technology that accurately tracks and adjusts for tumor movements at the moment of treatment with sub-millimeter accuracy. The benefits? Faster treatments, greater patient comfort and the potential for better outcomes.
Now, the Agnesian Cancer Center can lay claim to being the first provider in Wisconsin to use a new targeted treatment for metastatic prostate cancer, called Xofigo, or Radium 223.
This new therapy - approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in May - is used for men with prostate cancer whose disease has spread to the bone but not to other organs.
"In a clinical trial, the therapy was found to reduce pain, and extend survival," according to Timothy Korytko, MD, a board-certified radiation oncologist with the Agnesian Cancer Center. "Xofigo works by binding with minerals in the bone to deliver radiation directly to affected areas, limiting the damage to the surrounding normal tissues."
Xofigo emits radioactive particles. It is injected into the vein and collects in the bone. The radiation destroys the cancer cells and reduces pain.
Treatment is a simple IV therapy once every four weeks for six months and takes about 15 minutes to deliver, Korytko explains.
"Once we are set to go, the process is really quite simple," he says. "On the day of the treatment, we give a one-minute intravenous injection of Xofigo in the Nuclear Medicine treatment area. The radiation is contained within the patient so there is little if any exposure to family, caregivers or the public. Patients go home the same day with personal care instructions and no particular restrictions."
Patients are followed monthly by a radiation oncologist, including exams, lab tests and treatment.
"Since this is such a targeted therapy, the patient does quite well without the same side effects sometimes seen with other types of therapy," Dr. Korytko adds.
Korytko credits the Agnesian Cancer Care team with this successful addition. "There were many caring professionals that helped make this happen," he says. "I am proud to work with this team, including Tim Lemond, our physicist and radiation safety officer, the nursing support who helped to coordinate care, and the Nuclear Medicine team that helped to make sure everything was in place and assist with delivery of the drug."
The first Agnesian Cancer Center patient to receive Xofigo for his prostate cancer treatment is responding extremely well, according to Dr. Korytko. "It was a true collaboration between Dr. Joel Lundberg, a medical oncologist and hematologist, as he was looking for other treatment options for his patient and had exhausted all chemotherapy options for prostate cancer care."
That first patient is Larry Korth, of North Fond du Lac. For Korth, receiving care locally was never a question for him. "Why go out of town when you've got a good center right here?" he says. "The care is very good here."
As for why he chose a new treatment method? "I thought it was great because the others were not being effective for me. They know I'll try anything new. And, if I can help somebody, I want to help them."
For more information, call the Agnesian Cancer Center, 480 E. Division St. in Fond du Lac, at 926-4100.