Israeli start-up company Alpha Tau Medical has developed a new and potentially game-changing alpha-radiation therapy to treat solid tumors. The company achieved a series of milestones in 2018, such as welcoming highly successful interim clinical trial results, receiving a green light from the FDA to conduct U.S. clinical trials, and closing a major funding round of $29 million to further support the global research program of Alpha DaRT. The clinical results in skin and head and neck tumors showed that all tumors, even aggressive ones which had already been treated, responded to treatment, and in over 70% of the cases, the tumors disappeared entirely, and with minimal toxicity or side effects experienced.
The company has partnered with prestigious cancer centers in the world, including Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York, to conduct its first U.S. trial for skin cancer. The Alpha DaRT (Diffusing Alpha-emitters Radiation Therapy) technology was initially invented at Tel Aviv University by Professors Itzhak Kelson and Yona Keisari. The treatment is inserted directly into tumors via radium-224 radionuclides attached to the surface of small metal seeds. When the radium decays, alpha radiation is released both from the radium and its daughter atoms, which disperse into the tumor. The alpha radiation has sufficient potency and reach to destroy the entire tumor while sparing the surrounding healthy cells. Medical researchers and clinicians worldwide have expressed interest in this new, promising Alpha DaRT treatment as a potentially highly-beneficial complement to existing cancer therapies.