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Yale-led study seeks to understand how PSMA-PET imaging is touching the lives of patients with prostate cancer


Press Release

New technologies, such as clearer forms of imaging and molecular diagnostic tests, are rapidly changing how patients receive cancer care. Innovative advancements in prostate cancer diagnosis through more accurate forms of positron emission tomography [PET] imaging can help localize the cancer in ways that were not possible, even several years ago. Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen [PSMA]-PET imaging has recently become available and is particularly promising for patients when evaluating new or recurrent prostate cancer. This highly sensitive tracer works by linking with signals found on prostate cancer cells and helping to pinpoint their location on a scan. As a result, doctors can identify potential sites of prostate cancer with greater accuracy, potentially leading to more precisely tailored treatments.

Although PET imaging is more accurate at identifying cancer, it is still not known how that accuracy will affect treatments, and whether localization will improve outcomes for patients.

To help answer these questions, Yale Urology Associate Professor Michael Leapman, MD, MHS, is leading a collaborative study. The multidisciplinary team includes experts in the field of imaging and prostate cancer from both Yale and the Mayo Clinic, as well as regulatory specialists with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Significant headway has been made in developing new, increasingly sensitive PET scans, using specialized tracers,” says Leapman. “We now have convincing evidence that these tests help identify more sites of prostate cancer. But a crucial question remains: will better identification lead to better long-term clinical outcomes? Through this exciting collaboration, we hope to learn about the downstream effects of PET imaging, including how they may affect patients in the longer-term.”

The team will conduct detailed analyses of patients who have undergone PET imaging as part of their routine clinical care at Yale and the Mayo Clinic, as well as a national sample of patients.

This is the latest project to come out of the Yale-Mayo Center of Excellence for Regulatory Science and Innovation [CERSI], which focuses on development, clinical application advancement, and the fostering of patient-centered care.

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