Vancouver Clinic Earns Therapeutic License to Administer New Drug to Treat Prostate Cancer

“We are thrilled to offer this novel treatment in Canada to help prolong lives”
VANCOUVER, BC, March 7, 2023 /CNW/ – INITIO Medical Group is the first private nuclear medicine facility in Canada to be awarded a therapeutic license to administer Lutetium-177-PSMA (prostate specific membrane antigen) for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, specifically “metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer” also known as “mCRPC”.
Lu-177-PSMA, an example of a new kind of cancer treatment called “RLT” (radioligand therapy), is a game-changer for those suffering from the advanced form of the most common cancer in Canadian men, and their third-leading cause of death from cancer.
What makes Lu-177-PSMA and the coming wave of RLT compounds such cutting-edge treatments is that they target and destroy cancer cells precisely, while minimizing exposure to healthy tissue, often with fewer side effects than chemotherapy, traditional radiation and other treatments.
“This therapeutic license allows us to offer this ground-breaking treatment to patients who may not have had access to it otherwise,” says Dr. Kalevi Kairemo, President-Elect World Association of Radiopharmaceutical and Molecular Therapy (WARMTH) and Senior Scientific Advisor for INITIO Medical Group.
INITIO received the license from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission last week and will begin offering patient treatments after March 15. INITIO will be the first private clinic in Canada to offer Lu-177-PSMA treatment, following the approval of the compound by Health Canada in September, 2022.
The compound is administered intravenously over about a minute, and it binds to cancer cells and destroys them with ultra short range “beta particles”. These particles travel a maximum of 2 mm once emitted by the lutetium nucleus, ensuring they selectively target cancer cells and spare healthy tissue. Any compound which does not bind to cancer tissue is primarily cleared from the body by the kidneys.
“Lutetium-177 has demonstrated the ability to meaningfully prolong life in the international VISION trial, involving patients with advanced cancer, many of whom otherwise would have very few therapeutic options. We’re excited to offer this treatment in Canada,” says Dr. Rob Tarzwell, Medical Director for INITIO Medical Group, and a Clinical Assistant Professor on the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.
“The approval of this license was made possible by the tireless efforts of our team, who worked closely with regulatory agencies and other stakeholders to ensure that we meet all the necessary requirements and standards,” says Dr. Philip Cohen, INITIO Director and Division Head, Nuclear Medicine, Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, adding there are plans to apply for licenses at other facilities across Canada.
At present, although Lu-177-PSMA is Health Canada approved and an effective prostate cancer treatment, it is not publicly funded.


INITIO is Western Canada’s only private PET/CT scan facility. With over 20 years experience, we offer Rapid PET/CT and CT scans and nuclear medicine treatments with no wait list. INITIO has diagnostic scanning for cancer, cognitive impairment, and cardiac sarcoidosis, and now, offers prostate cancer therapy. With this latest addition, INITIO Medical Group reaffirms its commitment to providing the most advanced and effective treatments to its patients. We are proud to be able to offer Lu-177 PSMA therapy and look forward to the positive impact it will have on the lives of those affected by prostate cancer.
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