According to doctors at the research center the radioactive drug samarium destroys bone tumours. Osteosarcoma is an unusual tumour of the bone which is usually treated by surgery or chemotherapy. However, one case in ten proves resistant to these therapies.
A new radioactive drug, samarium, was tested on 21 patients with bone cancer, ranging in age from 15 to 50. All had failed to benefit from other treatments and had multiple bone cancer sites. Most had a good or excellent response to the samarium - with two going into complete remission. Samarium targets bone cancer cells only, so it is freer of side effects than other forms of chemotherapy. It's given intravenously over a 30 minute period and the patient needs to be in hospital for about two days. After two weeks, the bone is free of radioactivity because the samarium has a half life of only two days.