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Belgian action plan aims to give more cancer patients access to innovative cancer treatment

19 June '24

Today marks the launch of a Belgian action plan aimed at providing more cancer patients with access to innovative treatments. Specifically, this concerns radioligand therapy (RLT), also known as Targeted Radionuclide Therapy. This pioneering therapy could become a major new pillar in the fight against the disease. This action plan aims to perpetuate Belgium's pioneering role in RLT and future-proof our healthcare system.

SCK CEN - Actieplan Nuclear medicine (2024)

Belgium already has years of experience in both nuclear medicine and radioligand therapy. Our country has a unique ecosystem with leading nuclear experts, research facilities, research reactors, pharmaceutical companies, production facilities, specialised doctors, and hospitals. In total, the Belgian nuclear medicine sector has more than 5,000 dedicated professionals, including 350 specialists.

Collective fight against cancer

“Belgium has unique assets available to roll out these cancer treatments broadly, and to give them a future, for the benefit of the patient, but we need to exploit these assets in a timely manner,” says Koen Hasaers, Director of Nuclear Medical Applications at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, SCK CEN. “We are already taking concrete steps by increasing production capacity and stimulating pre-clinical research. Central to these efforts, however, is the collective fight against cancer.” 

That is why SCK CEN actively supports sector initiatives such as the today announced 'RLT Action Plan'.” This action plan aims to perpetuate Belgium's pioneering role in RLT and future-proof our healthcare system.

Today, RLT is already used to treat neuroendocrine tumours and metastatic prostate cancer. Currently, around 200 RLT clinical trials are ongoing worldwide to treat other cancers. Some of these trials are in the final clinical phase. “Through research, the possibilities for use will quickly expand to other cancers, thereby proportionally increasing the pressure on treatment centers. This is why the RLT Action Plan is absolutely necessary. Patients have the right to benefit from the advantages of this new treatment in our country,” says Erik Briers, patient and vice-president of Europa Uomo, the European umbrella organization for prostate cancer.

Radioligand therapy (RLT): a definition

Radioligand therapy (RLT) also known as Targeted Radionuclide Therapyis an innovative treatment that uses nuclear medicine to treat different types of cancer in a targeted manner. It combines a molecule that recognises the cancer cells (the ligand) with a radioisotope, which aims to damage or destroy the cancer cells while limiting the impact on nearby healthy cells.

The RLT action plan can be accessed at Inovigate’s website. This consultancy agency drew up this action plan by working with all stakeholders involved, including healthcare professionals, hospitals, research institutes, universities, patient associations and the public services. 

Read the action plan
SCK CEN - Actieplan Nuclear medicine (2024)

Want to read the full and official press release? 

Click here

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