Radiopharmaceuticals are cancer drugs that contain radioactive materials. They target cancer cells, giving off radiation that kills these cells while sparing healthy tissue.

Advanced radiation therapy delivered with compassion, Radiopharmaceuticals are one of the advanced radiation therapy treatments available at Cooper — delivered with compassion. From your first appointment to the completion of your care, we will be there to support you and answer all of your questions. 

We treat your cancer aggressively, while minimizing the side effects of radiation therapy. Using a state-of-the-art image-based planning system, we precisely locate your tumor and design treatments with pinpoint accuracy. Then we deliver the most effective dose of radiation to your tumor while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible.

Uses of radiopharmaceuticals

Radiopharmaceuticals are used to:

  • Treat cancer
  • Relieve symptoms caused by the growth of the tumor. 

How radiopharmaceuticals work

Radiopharmaceuticals are injected into a vein and given in a single dose. They travel to areas of the body that contain cancer cells. The radiation they give off kills cancer cells and relieves pain. 

Radiopharmaceuticals for bone pain

Radiopharmaceuticals are often used to relieve pain from tumors that have spread to the bones. For cancer that has spread to more than one bone, radiopharmaceuticals work better than external radiation therapy.  

Sometimes, radiopharmaceuticals are used with external radiation therapy. The external radiation therapy would be aimed at the most painful areas of bone. 
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma Radio-labeled antibodies, man-made drugs that contain antibodies and radioactive materials, are used to treat some non-Hodgkin lymphomas. They are especially useful in non-Hodgkin lymphomas that don't get better with other treatments. 

Antibodies are large, sticky proteins that help the immune system protect the body from infection and disease. The immune system is made up of a network of special cells, tissues, organs, and substances throughout your body that help protect you from some infections and diseases. It includes:

  • Bone marrow
  • Lymph nodes
  • Spleen
  • Tonsils
  • White blood cells. 

Thyroid cancer 

Radioactive iodine therapy is used after thyroid cancer surgery to destroy any remaining thyroid tissue, and to treat thyroid cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped collections of immune system tissue that help fight infections.

Contact Us

For an appointment with an MD Anderson Cooper radiotherapy expert, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).