Radiopharmaceutical therapy (RPT) is a type of personalized medicine that can improve treatment outcomes for patients with certain cancers. While RPT has limited indications currently, its potential applications across many cancer types has spawned growing interest in this modality. Continued investment in research and development in RPT has the potential to yield novel applications as single agents or combined with other drugs, ushering in a new era of tailored and effective cancer therapy. Radiation oncologists with expertise in oncology, radiobiology and physics are well-equipped to provide these treatments to appropriate patients and lead the path forward for the field. ASTRO has been actively developing resources for RPT for many years and continues to advocate for radiation oncology in many ways.
In 2018, an RPT working group was established to develop resources for ASTRO membership. The group consists of radiation oncologists and medical physicists actively treating cancer with RPT in their own practices and interested in fostering collaboration and accelerating progress in this dynamic field. This effort aims to pool expertise and drive advancements in the development, optimization and clinical implementation of RPTs in radiation oncology and maximize opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration.
ASTRO publishes on a variety of RPT topics to advance the understanding and application of therapy and promote multidisciplinary collaboration. These resources are intended for a wide audience including resident trainees, established clinicians and researchers. The dissemination of such knowledge contributes to the collective knowledge base, fostering collaboration and encouraging further advancements in the realm of RPT, ultimately benefiting patients and shaping the future of radiation oncology.
In early 2023, ASTRO convened RPT industry leaders and ASTRO members, including academic and community practice physicians and physician scientists, for a strategic dialogue on the future of RPT. The meeting yielded key insights and priority areas that will drive ASTRO’s activities, including the development of a Radiopharmaceutical Roundtable, allowing industry to cooperate on the strategic direction of ASTRO RPT activities. More information can be found on the Radiopharmaceutical Roundtable webpage.
The RPT Masterclass has been held each year at the ASTRO Annual Meeting since 2019 with over 500 attendees since its inception. The multi-year offering is a comprehensive educational initiative designed to provide an overview and cultivate expertise and leadership in the evolving landscape of RPT. Tailored for oncologists, physicists and nuclear medicine physicians, this session has provided an in-depth exploration of radiopharmaceutical science and applications. Experts and thought leaders in the field serve as speakers, offering valuable insights and guidance. This multi-year format ensures a sustained and progressive learning experience, enabling participants to stay abreast of the latest developments, foster innovation and contribute significantly to the advancement of RPT.
ASTRO has also come to appreciate that the Medicare program does not recognize RPTs as drugs, and that the reimbursement paradigm in freestanding cancer centers is widely variable. ASTRO is working with industry partners for a reclassification of RPTs as drugs so that Medicare payment policy is uniform and stable.
ASTRO systematically evaluates resources related to RPT from various societies and entities, encompassing publications, guidance documents and accreditation standards. This proactive review aims to confirm accuracy, comprehensiveness and the inclusion of radiation oncology as a prominent leader in RPT.
ASTRO is currently developing a specific RPT pathway paired with APEx – Accreditation Program for Excellence, or as a stand-alone offering, anticipated in 2024.
Contact Randi Kudner, ASTRO staff, with any questions.